Khadija Al Salami's early years in Yemen
Khadija Al Salami was born in Sana’a to a modest, conservative family.
At the age of 11, she was forced by her uncle to marry a man 20 years’ older than her. Although still only a child, Khadija rebelled against her family’s tribal values, dared to leave her husband, sought and obtained a divorce.
Aged 11, disowned by her family, she had to find a means to earn a living. She contacted the Yemeni television where she managed to get herself hired. She hosted a children’s programme, while continuing to attend school in the morning.
Aged 16, thanks to her good grades at school she was awarded a scholarship allowing her to pursue university studies in the USA. She succeeded brilliantly, obtaining a Master’s in Filmmaking at the American University of Washington.
Films, books, cultural influence
In addition to her writing and documentary work, Khadija Al-Salami is a girls’ and women’s rights activist and one of the “Top 50 People Shaping the Culture of the Middle East.”
She is Yemen’s first woman film-maker and has made more than 27 documentaries for various television stations in France and Yemen, and she has received several awards at various film festivals worldwide. Her first fiction film, “I am Nojoom, Age 10, and Divorced” won more than 28 awards and has been screened at hundreds of festivals across the world.
She wrote “La Rosee du Matin.” With Charles Hoots, she has also written the book “The Tears of Sheba” about her experience growing up in Yemen. Until 2011, she served as the Press and Cultural Counselor and Director of Communication at the Cultural Center at the Embassy of Yemen in Paris.
Honors and international support
Among her awards are the Knight of the Order of Arts & Letters awarded by the French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand, Inspiring Woman, chosen by the Mosaic Foundation (Washington D.C), Medal of Honor rank of Knight (Chevalier) awarded by the French President Jacques Chirac, and the Prince Claus Foundation Award, (Netherland), among others.
Today, Khadija uses her network of relations to champion those causes dear to her heart, namely the rights of young Yemeni girls and children and the struggle against the war in Yemen.
On France 24 channel
An international support