While growing up in Pakistan, Yumna Majeed was frequently discouraged from pursuing her dream of becoming an astronaut. As a result, she chose a medical-related field and began her journey to create scope for space in the country so that no other kid has to give up on their dream-like she did.
The 22-year old is now Pakistan’s first-ever contact person for nationwide outreach to Space Generation Advisory Council – a non-profit space organization that works with NASA, ESA (European Space Agency), and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency). Further, Yumna is also affiliated with Space for Art Foundation, founded by astronaut Nicole Stott. Through this role, Yumna has sent numerous artworks of Pakistani children into space.
All this began when she had a teacher mocking her for her conquest in the 9th class.
“The teacher said that there was no such thing as space. Everything Allah has made is on the Earth, the moon landing is fake, and there’s nothing outside the atmosphere,” recalled Yumna the first response she got when she shared her dream in a class.
In addition to the above, Yumna has also founded ‘Exploration’ a nonprofit group that aims at debunking myths related to space in Pakistan and teaching young kids about the potential space education holds.
“Exploration is the positive outcome of all the anger I had as a child,” said Yumna while talking to an online publication.
Exploration began when after becoming a medical lab assistant, Yumna decided to go to school and educate young students about space sciences and its scope. Often she faced opposition from school administration and parents who deemed the field unrealistic for their kids.
However, like Yumna who was bullied for having different dreams, she does not want another child to give up. Instead, she’s using her own capacity to bring space awareness in the country that lacks exposure.
“Just because you’re different, doesn’t mean you’re wrong. I now realize that my biggest mistake has been trying to fit in with other people,” said the 22-year old.