Egypt’s first female dolphin trainer swims against the stream

Nesma Rafet, Egypt’s first female certified dolphin trainer, said it is crucial to establish trust with the dolphins, Dolphina Park, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Posted March 13, 2014. (photo by Facebook/nesma.rafet)

Egypt’s first female dolphin trainer swims against the stream

Author: Amira Sayed Ahmed

Nesma Rafet’s love of the sea dates back to her childhood in the coastal city of Alexandria, but very few people would have predicted that this would be the basis of her career, as Egypt’s first certified female dolphin trainer.

SummaryPrint Nesma Rafet, who left a corporate career for swimming with dolphins, says her male colleagues’ attitude that she couldn’t do the job encouraged her further.

A graduate of Alexandria University’s faculty of law, she moved to Sharm el-Sheikh to work as a secretary in a hotel. It was there near the Red Sea when her career plans changed after attending a dolphin show.

“I wanted to pursue a career after my own heart, so I decided to make a career shift. I left everything for the sake of dolphins. My mother thought I lost my mind, but I insisted on becoming a dolphin trainer, and I applied for this job opportunity at one of Sharm el-Sheikh’s hotels 10 years ago despite many raised eyebrows,” Rafet told Al-Monitor.

Her first step 10 years ago was to take lessons from a group of Russian trainers. “Both the trainers and trainees were all male,” said Rafet. “My male colleagues were sure that I was not serious about the job and would quit in the near future. Their attitude further stimulated me to smash the gender role barriers and prove that girls can do anything.”

During this six-month training course, she learned how to deal with dolphins and how to keep them alert and playful during live shows. “Dolphins…

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