Nesma Ra'afat during a performance - Youm7
CAIRO - 9 April 2017: Trying to escape the monotony of an ordinary working atmosphere, Nesma Ra’afat decided to study dolphin training and it completely transforming her life.
Ra’afat, studied law and later worked in the Red Sea’s Sharm El-Sheikh as secretary to the General Manager at the Intercontinental Hotel, and her infatuation for dolphins started there. At age 22, and after staying in Sharm, Ra’afat decided to join the dolphin training program at Dolphina, a dolphinarium in Sharm El-Sheikh.
At the time Ra’afat decided to join Dolphina, it was opening space to admit Egyptian trainees for the first time, Ra’afat told Egypt Today.
After passing the first phases of the physical training in Egypt, Ra’afat was sent to Russia for six months to complete her training. She returned home as the first certified female dolphin trainer in Egypt. Since then, she has faced various obstacles, including her family accusing her of being “absolutely mad” for entering a male-dominated field.
“My parents were against the idea of me being a dolphin trainer; they did not even expect me to succeed,” Ra’afat told Egypt Today.
Ra’afat, however, who currently works as a trainer at Dolphina, said dolphins’ instincts enable them to communicate and engage better with females rather than males. She added that any dolphin trainer should develop a certain connection with the dolphins in order to be able to perform physical tricks during their performances.
“Although my career might seem entertaining to the spectators, it’s much harder than it seems,” said Ra’afat, who has become a model for Egyptian women to try things outside their comfort zones in order to achieve their goals.