‘I want to empower, lend my voice to voiceless Northern women’ – Fatima Habib
When you meet Fatima Habib you would think she is in her late 30’s because of her wealth of knowledge and go getting spirit, The 19 year old undergraduate from Borno state is the founder of of Advocacy for Human Value Foundation. An initiative she started when she was just 14 . Fatima has organised over 15 projects across Northern Nigeria, Impacting lives and giving voiceless women a voice. She is also the first Girl to work on the Fight Against Illiteracy in the North and the First to lead the Bring Back Our Chibok Girls in her state.
Fatima shares her story with me in this interview as she expresses her passion for Northern women and the need to help them find their place in the society
My parents were my first teachers. Things they say and do, their way of being and relating to me and others, laid the foundation for many of my beliefs, values, attitudes and respect to people around me.I attended my Secondary School (Adeola International School Abuja) also contributed in some of these after my parents laid down the basic foundation for me to Startup life.
I was born in the year 1999 September 23rd. I am Kanuri by tribe and hail from Maiduguri, Borno State. I had my Primary and Secondary Schools at Adeola International School Abuja and later moved to Maitama Model Secondary School Abuja to complete my SSCE in 2015.
I am the Founder of Advocacy for Human Value Foundation (a Non-Governmental Organization registered by Corporate Affairs Commission in February 2017). I am as well an activist who is advocating against the negativity of child sexual exploitation and promoting girl-child education and almaJiri education system in Nigeria. I am currently studying Political Science at the University of Maiduguri (year 3) and also an alumni of Young African Leaders Initiative (Yali)
About thousand of people’s lives have been impacted and shaped with my foundation as we have been able to give children their right education by enrolling them in schools and funding their education. We have done a lot of fund raising on social media platforms and also television in providing hospital expenses to the people with special disabilities ( Vulnerable members of the society). Periodically, I visit the Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri and hold discussion session with some of our targets where we talk out the problems faced by them. This leads to curing of trauma and depression amongst the vulnerable members in the various camps we visited. I recently started the advocacy on Sexual exploitation. We advocate to make these victims become more stronger, well-informed so despite the daunting challenge they could be able to speak up and change the face of the world.
Combining school and charity work,I will never advise others to try this because this is the worst way of taking the risk. It’s so challenging. Sometimes you are at work and an important class is going on and sometimes while in school and an important meeting or conference of Humanitarian nature is going on that may require your attention. Another challenge I face is lack of an office accommodation which would have emboldened me perform and achieve better than what I am doing at the moment.
Starting at age 14
During our secondary school, as students we were taken to orphanage homes on excursion several times by my school Adeola International School and in most cases the way and manner the orphans positively behaved and acted made me emotional. The thought of what the future held for them and given the minus of not having both parents spurred me to develop the interest of helping the orphans and the less privileged members of the society.
Supporting Northern women
I am trying to make women get access to capital and also empower them in collaboration with some entrepreneurs so they learn entrepreneurship because Women run 30% of all registered businesses worldwide, yet only 10% of women entrepreneurs have access to the capital they need to grow. Partnerships are crucial: mobilising the skills and resources of public and private sectors creates a bigger impact than working in isolation.
As my religion preaches humility in giving, also advocates feeding the hungry, regardless of race, religion or background. It is such an important part of the religion that Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said a person is not really a Muslim if he goes to bed satiated while his neighbor goes hungry. In line with the above I have initiated and executed the following projects and programmes so far in 17 states to my credit:- Fundraising workshop, Outreach to Christian and Muslim widows , Community awareness on HIV/AID, sponsoring 20 children through school and many more.
My greatest reward was my recognition as the Youngest humanitarian of the year 2017, Nigerian Goodwill ambassadors award.
In five years…
I see my organisation Successfully deep into Humanitarian Activities; done with strata of schools having equipped myself to face challenges of life and established orphanage-home and college inshaa-Allah
Let me start with the man whose character, intellectual milieu and philanthropic gesture to whosoever approaches him in the day, middle of the night or at whatever condition you get to him are very rare in our world of today. He is Dr. Mohammed Kyari Dikwa mni, a Permanent Secretary designate in the Federal Government of Nigeria, also Dr. Zainab Bagudu (the Kebbi state First Lady) whose Medicaid Cancer Foundation similar to my Foundation’s objectives remains dear to my heart as a woman. I also had the opportunity of meeting Hajia Laraba Shuaibu (a barrister who works with my dad in Corporate Affairs Commission) in 2014 with my siblings. She had a cupboard-of awards displayed in her sitting room which I believe was as a result of her versatility, network and consistency towards her work and profession.
Being a Woman of Rubies
I am very ambitious. Supporting and encouraging people to pursue their own goals and dreams, I make my own as well. I have a vision for my future and chase after it with voracity.
Advice to women
Try to stay positive by being a positive thinker so I positively shape the lives of the vulnerable members of the society for them to believe in positivity too.
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