From walking barefoot to school to becoming one of Botswana’s first female military pilots: The inspiring story of Captain Kogmotso Phatsima

Captain Kogmotso Phatsima is one of Botswana’s first female military pilots. She is the President and Founder of Dare to Dream, a social enterprise dedicated to advancing youth, women, and girls in STEM with a focus on aviation, aerospace, and entrepreneurship development.

Captain Kogmotso Phatsima grew up in a small village near Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, Botswana. Growing up, she used to see planes flying over their house in the village – seeing this scenario happening almost every day inspired her to become a pilot. “For an early young age I knew l was born to fly, this made me develop interest in STEM from an early young age and ultimately served as a foundation for my career,” said Captain Kogmotso Phatsima.

Captain Kogmotso Phatsima came from a low-income family. She used to walk barefoot to school but the young and determined Phatsima had her eyes set on the prize. She devoted her time to her studies so she could achieve her dream of becoming a pilot in a world of not-so-many of her kind in the field of aviation.

After sleepless nights of hard work and studying, she got admission to the University of Botswana where she graduated with a Bachelor of Education Science in Mathematics and Physics. She continued her pursuit of getting educated by enrolling at the University of Derby where she graduated with a Master of Science in Strategic Management.

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In 2019, Captain Kgomotso Phatsima was among the first female military pilots in the Botswana Defense Force. She is a certified commercial pilot, according to Botswana’s Civil Aviation Authority. She received the Best Female of the Year Award at the 2017 Botswana Youth Awards, as well as the 80th Commonwealth Point of Light Award from the British High Commission. Kgomotso is a 2018 Fellow of the Obama Foundation’s Africa Leaders Program as well as a former participant in the USA Leadership Tour’s International Visitor Leadership Program.

As the President and Founder of Dare to Dream, Captain Kgomotso has through her organisation helped hundreds of youth, women and girls in STEM through education, networking, mentorship and scholarships. Her organisation inspires the next generation of aviation and space leaders, business aviation leaders of tomorrow not only in Botswana but across the African Continent.

“STEM subjects are believed to be hard and intimidating for women hence the need to have positive role models and Mentorship to encourage female participation in this fields, secondly our culture for example, when l told my mother that I wanted to fly she said ”During our time it was unheard of for a girl child from very humble beginning to fly planes” this stereotypes and limiting beliefs affect female and discourage them” – Captain Kgomotso Phatsima

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