Here at Muslim Girl, we love to introduce outstanding women that inspire us; Ekhlas Ahmed is one of those outstanding women. Ekhlas wrote a letter to Ellen DeGeneres thanking her for helping her learn the English language as she was growing up after her family left Sudan as refugees to escape the genocide in Darfur. After receiving the letter, Ellen brought Ekhlas on the show as a guest on Thursday and wowed us with her inspiration and passion.
In her letter, Ekhlas describes an instance when she got off her bus at the wrong stop and was lost for eight hours; rather than being discouraged, Ekhlas vowed to make it her mission to learn English. She committed herself to learning the language and as she described, “I stayed after school every day with my English teacher and I would watch your show and memorize what you said, write it down, and try to learn from it.”
Ekhlas’ dedication and hard work led to her graduating high school and she recently earned her Bachelor’s degree and is currently working on her Masters. Ekhlas currently works as an English teacher and a Make It Happen mentor at Casco Bay High School in Maine.
Perhaps what was most inspiring about Ekhlas was her passion: “It is so important for me to be there for the students and for me to be a role model for them…when I was their age, I didn’t have someone that was an immigrant from Africa, an immigrant who went through college and graduated that didn’t speak English but now is in a classroom in front of them.”
Ekhlas’ story is truly an emotional one. One that reminds us of the greatness we all possess as human beings and what we can do with that greatness. A story that reminds us that no matter what life has thrown at you, you can still make a choice to rise above and push harder to create something bigger than yourself. The story reminds us as Americans that refugees and immigrants are also human beings that have dreams, goals, and passions they too want to pursue but they can’t if they are continuously shot down.
But, we can’t possibly forget Ellen in this. At the end of the show, Ellen presented Ekhlas with a $22,000 check to pay off her student loans.
Ellen, thank you. Thank you for putting a smile on people’s faces and opening your arms for everyone and being a reason that people like Ekhlas can be inspired. Thank you for being one of the reasons that people won’t give up on America. Thank you for sharing love with the world and reminding us to always be kind to one another. Thank you.