Munira Premji

Every once in a while, something extraordinary happens. Where magic flashes in the unseen, connections are timed, stars are aligned, opportunities are crystallized and serendipities create possibilities for new realities. That happened this week for Sabrina when she was invited to compete for ELLE Canada’s Award for Female Entrepreneurship.

I watched her practice, her face pensive as she decided which parts of the Kidogo story to tell in her 5-minutes in front of the jury. I watched her pull together an outfit, combining bits and pieces from my closet and her suitcase. As she straightened her hair, I could see her visualizing her pitch. She slapped on her tallest heels – she’s convinced the size of her heel is correlated to her confidence level – and headed off to ELLE’s offices. When did my Sabrina grow up!

Over the past 2 years, Sabrina and Afzal have dedicated their lives to giving children living in poverty the best start to life. Their social enterprise, Kidogo Early Years, has peaked the interest of many organizations – ELLE Foundation, the latest on the growing list.

ELLE has partnered with Le Comptoir de l’innovation (CDI), a leading global social investment firm, to launch an award recognizing female social entrepreneurship:  Impact² Pour Elle(s). The competition, now in its second year, is being run for the first time in 9 countries around the world: Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States of America. The winners from each of these countries will be flown to Paris in April on an all-expenses paid trip to compete for the grand prize in front of an international forum of business leaders, policy makers, and financial institutions promoting female entrepreneurship.

At Canada’s finals this week, Sabrina competed against extraordinary women: Kim Smiley, a designer who is the creative force behind Sappho by Kim, Leonie Tchatat who spearheaded the design of Competences Culturelles, Ontario Business Platform and Francophone Workforce Development and Melissa Sariffodeen founder of Ladies Learning Code. Each of the finalists pitched their entrepreneurial ventures to a seasoned group of judges that included Noreen Flanagan, Editor-In-Chief of ELLE and representatives from RBC Capital Markets, EY and MaRS, among others. After the pitch, the judges asked the candidates a succession of rapid fire questions and then chose the winner.

Sabrina returned home later that afternoon and snuck into my bed – my new home since completing my first chemo last week. She whispered in my ear, “Mommy, I won!”

Judges and finalists inside ELLE Canada’s Closet.
Sabrina with the esteemed jury.

As ELLE Canada’s Female Entrepreneur of the Year, Sabrina will be featured in ELLE magazine and is off to Paris in a few weeks – oh mon Dieu! And nobody is more surprised about this award than Sabrina herself. Her humility, her complete lack of ego is so beautiful. She has no concept of how incredible she is. Sabrina was always a little bit of a late bloomer and her teenage years saw her wearing her brother’s oversized sports jerseys, shorts that came to her knees and sports socks. She was a tomboy for most of her life and was happiest when she was playing baseball, basketball and ice hockey. And when she wasn’t playing sports, she was studying. Dolls, clothes, makeup, fashion – none of this interested her. She didn’t even have her first kiss until she was 21 – and then we celebrated this momentous occasion for a week! At age 21, my late blooming Sabrina declared she wanted a Princess Party. And now, my gorgeous, caring, compassionate, loving and talented daughter will be in ELLE magazine!

ELLE Canada’s Female Entrepreneur of the Year, Sabrina Premji, with Editor-in-Chief, Noreen Flanagan.


  • Kim , March 26, 2016

    Dear Munira,
    I had the honour of meeting Sabrina at the Elle Competition. Not sure if I had the chance to say this directly to her after the awards, but she truly deserved to take home the prize. I would have voted for her myself if I could but I was running alongside her ;).

    What you write about so eloquently in this tribute makes my heart swell even more for her — to combine such accomplishment with such a level of humility is a testament to how extraordinary she Sabrina is. May she continue to shine and bring light into the world.

    I will be cheering for her in Paris. Mais Oui!
    xo Kim Smiley

  • Amir Jaffer , March 24, 2016

    Hey, to say that I am proud would be belittling how I really feel about this. BRAVO TO MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.
    Muni still owes me a Tango.

    • Munira Premji , March 25, 2016

      If Obama can do the tango, surely I can too. It’s a date!

  • Tanya , March 23, 2016

    Bless u all

  • […] Read Natasha’s mother, Munira Premji’s account: My daughter in ELLE magazine – Mais Oui! […]

  • Shenul Williams , March 22, 2016

    Congratulations Munira! What a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing. Get well soon! Prayers and bear hugs your way. Take care! Sheny xoxo

  • Dana , March 21, 2016

    What an amazing story! And how blessed you are as a mother to be here for it! I, too, stuggle with cancer and relapse, and every day brings its own joy. I rejoice with you every step of the way! xo

    • Munira Premji , March 25, 2016

      You are so right Dana. We need to embrace the moments and take pleasure in the pain and pleasure….

  • Kathy Thom , March 21, 2016

    My dear Sabrina, from one of the first moments that I met you and you shared your questions and concerns about your first Discovery Profile, I knew that that quiet power of yours would lead to great things. Of course, your vision, drive, compassion, commitment to this work and the magic that only you bring to the world makes each achievement more brilliant than the one before. And all the while, you remain so humble. I’m honoured to know you and watch you reach the stars again, and again, and again.

  • Anonymous , March 21, 2016

    Congratulations and Navroz Mubarak with lots of good wishes and prayers. Yasmin

  • Francesca , March 21, 2016

    Happy to read this, congratulations Sabrina!

  • Cindy Choleras , March 20, 2016

    What wonderful news. You must be SO proud of her – and rightfully so. You are both so inspirational. Congratulations Sabrina.

  • Patti Kurgan , March 20, 2016

    This is such exciting news! Sabrina is a wonderful, generous person and I’m so happy for her. An extraordinary recognition for an extraordinary person.

  • Lynda and Dave Cavanagh , March 20, 2016

    What a wonderful daughter you have in Sabrina and now the world will know. How proud you must be. The world is an interesting place to live. There is so much hardship and yet there is so much to be thankful for. My congratulations to Sabrina. I think of you every day and hope that things will get better real soon.
    All my love, Lynda

    Sent from Lynda’s iPad


  • BJ , March 20, 2016


  • karimahabib2012 , March 20, 2016

    Congratulations!! Sabrina you are deserving of this award for the selfless work you do!

  • Shahnaz , March 19, 2016

    All I can say is Wow! – She has a great mentor! You make us proud, Mother and Daughter Team!

  • Linda , March 19, 2016

    That beautiful, humble, inspiring young woman didn’t fall far from the tree!!! Congratulations! Wonderful and so well deserved news! Go Sabrinski GO!!!

  • Noor , March 19, 2016


  • hennagirl , March 19, 2016

    That’s just so fantastic! Congratulations Sabrina! I’m so pleased for her, and reading your blog and how incredibly proud of her you are is so beautiful. Good luck in Paris, I’ll be rooting for you!

  • Swati , March 19, 2016

    Congratulations Sabrina!!! Such an inspiration to all of us!

  • Chantal Roy , March 19, 2016

    Wow! C’est vraiment extraordinaire! Je suis très impressionnée. Munira, you have every reason to be proud of your daughter! Sabrina, you are an inspiration for young woman. Congratulations to you! Be proud of yourself…

  • Anonymous , March 19, 2016

    Wow congrats would love to find out more about her venture

Comments are closed.