Khodani Davhana was the 2018 Women In Aviation scholarship winner. Read about her experience and how she will continue to pursue aviation.
This post was written by Khodani Davhana, our 2018 Women In Aviation scholarship winner.
It took me a while to decide which Abingdon Foundation scholarship to apply for. I was intrigued by the Abingdon Foundation – an organization that is all for trailblazers and supporting women who push boundaries. Secondly, the opportunity to meet women from all over the world who share the same passion and love for aviation with me sounded like a dream! I wanted to hear their stories; how and why they got involved in aviation; and what kind of impact the aviation industry has made in their lives. Above all, I needed to absorb all the lessons I could gain from that kind of experience and, simply, to be inspired. The idea of being around all these diverse women in aviation attracted me to the It’s About Time Scholarship – which covered all costs for attending the Women in Aviation International Conference to see all of the different avenues of aviation.
The application included a creative step. Personally, I never considered myself a “creative”. However, after reading about the Abingdon Foundation and looking at the kind of watches and accessories The Abingdon Co. creates, I was inspired. At the time, the Abingdon Co was responsible for offering the scholarship and the foundation was in the process of forming. My approach was to give an African interpretation, of the already gorgeous pieces, by telling a story with every wristband design. In doing that I was able to be innovative and creative with my application, as required.
I was excited about the experience and as I made my way to the WAI 2018 Conference with one thing in mind – learn! I asked as many questions as I could. I was intentional about getting to know the women I met at the conference and getting to learn about their backgrounds in the aviation industry. In doing this, I learned that many women had tough and difficult challenges they had to overcome to achieve their dreams. As unique as my story was, many women I met had faced challenges that threatened their dreams. I learned that women all over the world have to fight harder to achieve their dreams, especially, in a male-dominated industry – that was an eye-opener! Also, Abingdon Mullin – the founder of The Abingdon Foundation – made time to know what my greatest interests were in aviation and in what area I felt I needed more information or understanding. When I told her I was interested in Corporate Aviation, I did not expect her to walk with me to every corporate aviation stand at the exhibition hall. Not only was I humbled by her taking the time to make sure I gathered as much information as I could on this area of interest, I, also, learned so much from the individuals she introduced me to and the people who are in this line of work. I am, now, able to make a more informed decision about my career path.
These are a few of many things I learned. Overall, the conference was an amazing experience for me. From the international travel exposure to meeting diverse women in the same industry as I am and the inspiring speakers I had an opportunity to listen to. No words can correctly express how empowering the experience was for me.
My future plans, with regards to my career, are to complete my Commercial Pilot License; I’m currently busy with my hour-building. I had been given so much by the Abingdon Foundation Scholarship and I had to come back home and pay it forward.
Nyasha Manyika ( who encouraged me to become a member of WAI and encouraged me to apply for the scholarship) and I came together to start working on a Non-profit organization that can help encourage the advancement of aviation, especially among women, in all aviation career fields and interests. Also, “to influence, raise and strengthen African aviation leaders”, as our mission statement points. We are excited about this because we have both benefited from the generosity of the Abingdon Foundation and Women in Aviation International.