Hadiza Isma El-Rufai: Writer and humanitarian

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Hadiza Isma El-Rufai is a distinguished Abusite, writer (novelist) and humanitarian. She is the wife of the current governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, and founder of the Yasmin El-rufai Foundation (YELF), a non-profit literary organization.

El-Rufai was born Hadiza Isma on June 21, 1960, in Kano, Nigeria, to Mohammed Musa Isma and Amina Iya Isma. Her father was a civil servant.

Hadiza Isma El-Rufai and husband

She has a BSc and MSc in Architecture (1983) and an MBA (1992) from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as well as a Masters in Creative Writing (2012) from Bath Spa University, United Kingdom.

After graduating from ABU Zaria, Mrs. El-Rufai worked as a lecturer at the Department of Architecture at Kaduna Polytechnic, a few more years at the National Electric Power Authority, before working in private practice.

She is the founder of the Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation, an NGO she set up in 2013 to honour her daughter who died of an epileptic seizure in her flat in London in November 2011.

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Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation (YELF) aims to awaken and nurture creativity in children and improve the literacy skills of disadvantaged young women in northern Nigeria providing them “resources with teachers and the books that they need to enhance their literacy.”

Hadiza Isma El-Rufai married the current governor of Kaduna state, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai In 1985. They met in 1976 at the School of Basic Studies, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

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As First Lady of Kaduna State, she has also used the office for philanthropic purposes to benefit the less privileged, donating drugs to sickle cell patients in Kaduna.

Hadiza Isma El-Rufai Passion for writing

Hadiza Isma El-Rufai may have been trained as an Architect but her real passion is found elsewhere. You don’t need to know her close to know that she is passionate about writing.

In 2017, El-Rufai published An Abundance of Scorpions (Ouida Books), a novel inspired by volunteer work the author did at an orphanage in Abuja, and her desire to write about an orphan. It was presented at the 2017 edition of the Aké Arts and Book Festival.

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Hadiza Isma El-Rufai: Writer and humanitarian 2

The work has been described by Helon Habila as “a heartbreaking tale of loss and an uplifting story of a woman’s strength and determination”.

Asked in an interview how she managed to Moved from Architecture to Creative writing? She said, “…creative writing and writing is something I have always wanted to do. I am happy I have the opportunity to do it. I enjoy practicing architecture but I think this is the right time for me to make a change.”

How did she achieve the change? “I started in 2008. I had a lot of time on my hands and it was a difficult time for me. So, I started by reading novels again. I used to read a lot of novels but for some years I had stopped. You know how life is; you have children, school fees, work, everything, you know.

“So, when I started reading, I remembered that once upon a time, I said to myself that I would write a novel someday. So, I said let me just try because I had a lot of time on my hands. First, I enrolled in an online creative writing program.

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“My tutors encouraged me and I started writing. And then I realized that I might as well do an MA so I could really know the craft of writing. So, I enrolled to do an MA at the Berth Pa University in the United Kingdom.”

Mrs. Hadiza Isma El-Rufai is a jovial and social personality who mixed, mingle, and relates freely with all individuals especially on social media.

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Chila Andrew Aondofa

Founder/Team lead at TheAbusite.com | Abusite | Entrepreneur | Activist | Humanitarian | All Inquiries to info@theabusites.com. SMS/WhatsApp +2349015751816

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