Sharifa was born and raised in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania amongst widespread poverty, illness, and limited educational opportunities. As little girls, Sharifa and her younger sister Shakila dreamed of going to college in the United States. Tragically, in April of 2010, Shakila died of a hereditary blood disorder, and Sharifa was even more determined to complete her degree for the both of them. Thanks to the support of Alumni and Friends of Crafton Hills College Foundation, Sharifa graduated from Crafton in 2013. She declares that "the past two years at Crafton have been life changing!"

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"Because of you, My dreams came true."