Maryam Garba is a 31-year-old feminist advocate, who is passionate about educating women on the use of the Internet. Despite her shy nature, she has been able organise women from different backgrounds to accept the Internet, assuring them that it will boost their businesses and improve the lives of their family members. Maryam, a graduate of B.Tech Computer Science from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi, is hopeful that she will make positive impact in the lives of women and girls in Bauchi and beyond.
My name is Maryam Garba Ibrahim. I was born into the family of Mr Garuba Garba and Mrs Titi Garuba. I am from Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State. I was born in Cross Rivers State, in the city of Ikom, precisely on December 25th, 1989.
I am the 11th of 19 children of my parents. I attended Asu-Egbe Primary School in Cross River State. I proceeded to Federal Government Girls’ College, Kabba, Kogi State, where I had my junior secondary school education, while I concluded my senior secondary school education at Usama Arabic Secondary School, Jos. From there, I proceeded to Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic, Bauchi (ATAP) for my National Diploma, after which I gained admission to further my studies at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi (ATBU) to study Computer Science (B Tech in Computer Science). I graduated in 2015 and I am married.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I have always been fascinated by computers and the Internet. Most of the things I have learned are through the Internet. My sister, Mrs Amina Ahmed Garuba, was always encouraging me to follow my passion, she alway sent lots of training/workshop opportunities to me via social media (WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter) and encouraged me to apply. I followed her advice and I applied and became involved in Gender Digital Inclusion this year (2019) after the three-day intensive training at the Bauchi Feminist Internet School organised by CITAD at the Hazibal Suite, Bauchi State. The rest, they say, is history. I have been able to step down the training to other women and there have been positive impacts regarding internet usage.
WHO TAUGHT YOU
Actually, a lot of people are involved, Mr Ibrahim Adamu, Mrs Amina Ahmed Garuba, Mrs Zahra Buba Atare Abubakar to mention a few.
My mentors are my mother, father, sister, Mrs Amina Ahmed Garuba, my husband, Ibrahim Adamu, and Mrs Zahra Buba Atare Abubakar.
My inspirations are my father, Mr Garuba Garuba, my sister, Mrs Amina Ahmed Garuba, and my husband.
My vision, by the special grace of Allah, is for every woman, especially in the northern part of the country, to be computer literate, to know how to use the Internet to better their lives. I desire to see women who are web developers, who are into coding and the likes. Let’s come out of our shells and do wonderful things on the net, not just posting pictures and chatting, but creating the chatroom itself.
My fear is failure.
My greatest challenge is public speaking. I really have the passion but I am very shy. I will not give up, I have to break the bondage so that I can mentor others.
None for now and I don’t pray for any.
I hope to involve myself more on feminist issues within and outside Bauchi State.
What are your expectations?
Some of my expectations in this is to first of all, bridge the gap between male and female internet users and to also give the females a chance to have their voices heard”.
The Internet is a very vital tool in the life of a woman. You can use it for research and a lot of other things. Before I went for this training, I learnt how to use makeup through make up tutorials online, tailoring and how to cook different continental dishes, through the YouTube channel. If I was not tech savvy, I would not have been able to do all that. There are lots of religious websites that you can learn from even as a housewife. Our religion and culture frown at some things on the internet, but to me, it is both sides of the coin because from the comfort of your room, you can achieve a lot of things.
BALANCING BUSINESS LIFE AND FAMILY
Well, it is not easy but I prioritise and then manage my time well.
ADVICE TO FELLOW WOMEN
Do what makes you happy, focus on what brings you joy. Appreciate and do more things that make you smile; never give up, just follow your dream and don’t forget to pray.