Technovation recently had the chance to talk with Houyem Boukthir, a 2015 Technovation participant from Tunisia. We got some great advice for young women interested in tech, learned how Houyem worked though challenges during the program, and what inspires her.
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Houyem Boukthir, I’m 18 years old and I live in Ariana, Tunisia.
When I was 8 I dreamt of founding a car manufacturer producing only autonomous and ecofriendly vehicles, therefore reducing stress, car accidents and pollution. When presenting the idea to my father he replied that I needed a huge amount of money in order to fulfill my dream. Thanks to my childhood optimism, that didn’t stop me — on the contrary that’s when my long journey of saving money started.
I first bought a piggy bank and started saving all my pocket money depriving myself of stuff other kids my age would buy. As I grew older I realized that money wasn’t the most important thing I needed. In fact, I needed some skills that neither school could teach me nor money could buy.
I got myself more involved in community services, jumped in every event and training I’ve heard of and with 5 other friends we founded the first club in our school counting more than 50 members.
I was obsessed with the idea of becoming a better version of myself bit by bit each day, and turning into a person who worked for change and success instead of only dreaming of it. That’s when teammate Narmine introduced me to Technovation; an experience that I’ll never forget. It made me more aware of how far I have come as an individual and how hard I will work in order to achieve my goals.
Tell us about a challenge you’ve faced with Technovation, and how you overcame it
One challenge I faced with Technovation was time management. Studying, managing a club and participating in Technovation were time consuming and barely left enough time for me to sleep. I won’t lie, at one point, I really thought about quitting. But most importantly I didn’t.
I was overwhelmed with the amount of stress and fatigue I had to deal with on daily basis but I took over the situation and realized that I was living my passion (I was actually starting a business) and I had no reason to complain, I figured out that stress was my fuel and the motive that keeps me going.
I turned weariness into readiness! I was now ready to overcome all the difficulties and do my best. I even scored higher at school
What advice do you have for other young women interested in Technology?
I advise every young woman interested in technology or any other field to let herself dream.
Dream because it’s not forbidden
Dream because gender has never been a burden
Dream because they’ll tell you not to.
Then fix your goals, commit yourself to them, and stop dreaming
Stop dreaming because it’s time for you to live the dream
Stop dreaming because now it’s not just a dream but a reality
Stop dreaming because the fact that you’re a girl doesn’t mean than you can’t achieve your goals
Don’t underestimate yourself, give up on your dreams and then blame it on society because girl you are society, you are the burdens, you are the change and you are the dream.
You define yourself.