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Mariam Amadu | Ghana | Learning & Growth

Writer | Teacher | Caterer

My name is Mariam Amadu, and I am a versatile individual with a passion for writing, teaching, and catering. Holding a bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the University of Ghana, I currently serve at The Lands Commission in Ghana. During my upbringing, I was haunted by questions that troubled me deeply. I often wondered why Nima, the place I call home and described as a Pandora of diverse elements, faced relentless criticism. Words like illiteracy, pickpocketing, violence, and terror had become synonymous with Nima. This realization served as a wake-up call for me to change the narrative. I firmly believe that every society has its challenges, and Nima should not be defined solely by its shortcomings. Recognizing my strong interest in writing, I courageously embarked on a journey to learn the art of spoken words poetry. I believed that by expressing my thoughts and emotions through spoken word, I could convey messages more effectively than just scribbling on paper. While this may not have solved all our society's problems, I have had the privilege of inspiring young individuals who approach me, sharing their beautiful dreams. Assuring them that they can pursue their dreams while embracing their cultural identity, whether it be wearing a hijab or kajal, fills them with a radiant enthusiasm. Many others who look up to me aspire to embrace the art of multitasking, as I navigate between dressing up for work on weekdays and carrying trays of cookies ready for delivery or taking the stage as a host or poet. The attention I receive serves as a constant reminder for me to strive for even greater accomplishments. Encouraged by my experiences, I decided to start teaching at Al-Falah Islamic School, a weekend training center for Muslims commonly known as "makaranta." It was within this environment that I discovered my true self and the significance of standing up for humanity. Starting with a small group of alumni, I am proud to say that it has been four years and our efforts have borne fruit. Our students are flourishing and realizing their potential, making this initiative a cherished dream for many. Giving back to society does not require vast wealth; it is the small efforts and commitments that truly matter. Personally, I hold high hopes for the Nima we are collectively building. It is a community where positivity, growth, and opportunity thrive, and I am determined to contribute to its transformation.

What were the biggest initial hurdles you faced and how did you overcome them?

The biggest initial hurdles I faced were the negative stereotypes associated with Nima, my hometown, and the skepticism from others about my ability to make a positive change. Many people believed that Nima was defined solely by its challenges and doubted the possibility of transforming its image. To overcome these hurdles, I took a two-pronged approach. Firstly, I focused on personal growth and skill development. I immersed myself in the art of spoken word poetry, honing my craft and using it as a platform to challenge misconceptions and inspire young individuals. By expressing my thoughts and emotions through spoken word, I was able to captivate audiences and break through the barriers of skepticism. Secondly, I actively engaged with the community and worked to build trust and understanding.

Through teaching at Al-Falah Islamic School, I connected with students and their families, showing them that education and personal growth were attainable goals. By demonstrating my commitment and dedication to their progress, I earned their trust and support. Over time, as my message resonated with more people and as the impact of my efforts became visible, the initial hurdles began to dissipate. Through persistence, determination, and a genuine belief in the potential of Nima, I was able to overcome skepticism and challenge negative stereotypes, paving the way for positive change and a brighter future for my community.

What advice would you offer to young individuals, both locally and internationally, who are embarking on their careers or pursuing their passions?

My advice to young individuals, both locally and internationally, embarking on their careers or pursuing their passions is:

Believe in yourself: Have faith in your abilities and trust that you have something valuable to offer. Confidence in yourself and your potential is crucial for success.

Embrace your unique path: Don't compare your journey to others'. Each person has their own unique talents, interests, and aspirations. Embrace your individuality and pursue the path that aligns with your passions and values.

Be open to learning and growth: Stay curious and never stop learning. Seek opportunities to expand your knowledge, develop new skills, and broaden your perspectives. Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and improvement.

Build a strong support system: Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who believe in your dreams. Seek mentors and role models who can guide and inspire you along the way. Collaborate with like-minded individuals who share your vision.

Take calculated risks: Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and take calculated risks. Success often requires pushing boundaries and embracing new experiences. Learn from failures and setbacks, and use them as stepping stones to propel you forward.

Stay resilient and persevere: The road to success is rarely smooth. Expect obstacles and setbacks, but don't let them discourage you. Stay resilient, persevere through challenges, and maintain a positive mindset. Remember that setbacks are temporary and can lead to valuable lessons.

Make a positive impact: Find ways to make a positive difference in your community and beyond. Use your skills, knowledge, and resources to contribute to causes you care about. By making a positive impact, you not only enrich the lives of others but also find fulfillment in your own journey. Remember, your career and passions are lifelong pursuits. Stay committed, be patient with yourself, and celebrate your achievements along the way. With dedication, perseverance, and a genuine passion for what you do, you can create a meaningful and fulfilling career that leaves a lasting impact.

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