– A St. Cloud woman is laying the groundwork to run for the presidency of Somalia.

Anab Dahir, a medical clinic interpreter who has lived in St. Cloud since 2008, believes the time she has spent in the U.S., gaining experience and education, will aid in her goal of repairing her native country. She's already spreading the word among friends, family and colleagues in anticipation of the elections next year.

"I think the country needs me … and other people like me," Dahir said.

A few other women, including Fadumo Dayib of Finland, also are hoping to become the first female president of Somali, the St. Cloud Times reported.

"My goal is, I want to be the woman who is challenging the man," Dahir said, adding that men haven't succeeded in rebuilding the country over the past 25 years.

"Now, it's the turn of women," she said.

Dahir is confident that she has the qualities necessary for the job.

"I have heart and I know I am a capable person. And I feel like I can change my country," she said. "If I have a brain, have the memory, have eyes, legs, hands, and I am an understanding person," then I can make a difference.

She realizes that it could be dangerous for her to run for president because there may be people who want to kill her.

"But I want to die changing my country," she said.

Dahir challenges other educated Somalian women around the world to help solve the country's problems.

"I want to show we can do something," she said.

Although the U.S. hasn't had a female president either, Dahir is inspired by everyday women who have attained leadership roles in workplaces such as hospitals, colleges and schools.

"There [are)] educated Somali women. … They are professors, Ph.D. holders, but they're scared. … They never get this chance I have. For me, I have God helping me. I have a big heart. … I'm not a professor, I don't have any money. But money and education is not leadership. Leadership is something God gives to you," she said. "So I think I'm going to inspire them. They will follow me."

Whether she wins or loses, Dahir hopes she will inspire others to lead.

"I am running to change my people's lives," she said.

Associated Press