“History, too, has a penchant for giving birth to itself over and over again, and those whom it appoints agents of change and progress do not always accept their destinies willingly.”
At the artery of a vicious decade-long bloody conflict, which claimed uncountable lives, young Aisha Zannah, pitches a tent of compassion in a clime shredded by hate, misery and inconceivable tragedy. When she should seek a safe haven elsewhere, given possible privileges that could have afforded her such luxury, she rather seeks the betterment of those she deems worst hit by one of the maladies of humanity.
She began her advocacy initiatives at the young age of 8, when she participated in the European Union Gender Equality competition back in 2008 and became one of the runners up. She was later, one of the winners of Mangrove Action Project (a climate change competition). She was also nominated for the 2016 Kids Rights Peace Prize award, given her attempts at making impact and promoting peace in her community.
She has spoken at the Norwegian Refugee Council, World University Service Canada, MasterCard forums around the world and other platforms open to discussions on insurgency and conflict resolution. Armed with a diploma in Arabic from the International University of Africa, Sudan, a certificate in screenwriting from the MET Film School London, a Certificate in policy-making, and a certificate in Dialogue and Conflict Resolution from Nansen Fredseenter, aside her current pursuit of a degree in Journalism at Skyline University, Kano-Nigeria, she comes forth as one of the greatest gifts of God to Arewa and mankind at large.
The influence of her parents on her life is immeasurable. She witnessed at a young age, the commitment and involvement of her parents in the plight of others, which taught her empathy and the need to give back to society. That seed grew over the years to make it possible for her to make sacrifices many wouldn’t dare with a long pole. When her father advised her to give up $30,000 scholarship in North-western University in Qatar to help in the education of less-privileged kids in Maiduguri, it was a tough call. She wasn’t sure of that at the beginning but she eventually bought into it. The result, years later, is watching the beneficiaries graduate from school, because she helped, when they needed it the most.
Several places in Borno, north-eastern Nigeria, Aisha’s root, has in the last one decade, made headlines for being the hotspot of one of Africa’s bloodiest conflicts. Thousands of lives filed into the heart of the earth at sunrise, a couple of millions driven and displaced from a place they once called home, families slain by the sword of penury, and above all, a generation of innocent children denied access to education.
It is to the last group of the victims of the insurgency (school children), that Aisha Zannah decided to lend a helping hand. As an outreach volunteer and girl activist, she went to school amidst the Boko Haram insurgency, together with the survivors of the crises. The school she attended, the award-winning Future Prowess Islamic Foundation, kept its doors open throughout the conflict, even at the peak of the violence in Maiduguri, when every other school was shut down. That experience enabled her to see first-hand, the plight of the survivors of the conflict.
Future Prowess is a school that provides free education to some of the most deprived children in Maiduguri, courtesy the support of Aisha and other donors. The school also caters for the children of the security forces as well as the insurgents they battle. The school’s main initiatives are to bridge the gap between the political and religious divides thrown up by the conflict.
Aisha has committed to work for the good of others, peace and and conflict resolution. She says: “When you change another person’s life positively and lighten the dark they had, you inspire them to be stronger and better. I can help reduce the suffering of people that the world hasn’t been kind to.”
In the face of many obstacles, she has dared the odds to colour the landscape of our human experience with hope and compassion, reminding us all that the better world we talk about is a choice we have to make. Her strides are emblematic of the hope we desire in Arewa. A generation of young Arewans woken to the realities of the time and the plight of the region. A generation fully aware that Arewa changes when Arewans are committed to helping one another, lending a helping hand and offering hope to the hopeless.
Aisha Zannah’s audacious attempts at making Arewa a better place aligns with the vision of Arewa Development Support Initiative (ADSI), which her father is a member of. ADSI encourages initiatives like hers because it creates yet another platform via which Arewans are empowered and developed to stand a better chance at a comfortable life, thus making life in Arewa, worth living.
Join ADSI today. You stand the chance of making someone’s life better.