|The FEATURE section is designed to profile Libyans and their contributions. We encourage your input on achievements of Libyans as students, scholars, professionals, and community members.|
Pioneer Woman: Khadijah M. A. al-Jahmi (1921-1996)
Khadijah al-Jahmi was born in Benghazi in 1921, her family home was on al-Ba'baa' Street. As a child she was taught at the hands of another leading Libyan woman, Hameedah al-'Anaizi. She also had great admiration for her father, with whom she used to enjoy trading folk poems.
Khadijah's father, Mr. MuHammed Abdallah al-Jahmi, was committed to her education. He hired two private tutors, one to teach her in classical Arabic and Islamic studies, the other to train her in sewing. At a very young age, Khadijah memorized the Holy Qur'aan. During World War II (1940) she was lightly injured in an air raid while she was alone in a cart. After the war she moved to Egypt, where she was an active participant in the Shabab (Youth) Club in al-'Atabah section of Cairo. There, she met the Egyptian poet Biram at-Tunisi, and shared with him some of her work in Libyan poetry.
In October 1947 Khadijah returned to Benghazi to work as a teacher. She taught for 5 years, then returned to Egypt to further her studies and her career in education. In 1955 she returned to Benghazi to work in the education field, but shortly afterward shifted to the field of broadcasting.
Upon joining the Libyan Broadcasting Company, Khadijah al-Jahmi became the first Libyan anchor woman and excelled in a male-dominated field. She hosted a radio classic called "Rukn al-Mar'ah" (Woman's Corner) and brought class to the field of broadcasting as a professional woman.
In 1966 Khadijah went into publishing where she started a magazine that dealt exclusively with women's issues. The magazine was called al-Mar'ah (The Woman), which is now called al-Bayt. Khadijah always encouraged Libyan women to join the broadcasting field. She created a recording studio to train young women in audio engineering and communications.
In the 1970s Khadijah took another interest in children's issues, and created "al-Amal" (The Hope) magazine. She is also the founder of "Dar al-Bara'im Lil Funoon" an organization that is dedicated for artistically gifted children under the age of six.
Upon retiring Khadijah founded a children's summer camp and concentrated on writing booklets for young Libyan women.
Abla Khadijah died in Tripoli on August 11, 1996. She is remembered by generations of Libyans as a classy pioneer, a role model, and most of all a generous teacher.
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