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Opinions of Monday, 10 July 2017

Columnist: Zakiyu Iddris Tindannayil

The Zongo dream

"There is nothing good in Zongo and I would not want have my child born into this community." This is what a friend said to me.

He is hoping to get money and get out of Zongo so that he can give his unborn children a good upbringing away from Zongo. He believes the community shapes the world view of a person, which I agree to some extent. He believes there is nothing like the "Zongo Dream" and if there is, it can only be a bad one.

I believe some of you might agree with him. Yes, growing up, that was my mindset. I always thought there is nothing good in Zongo and I wished I could have a home of my own away from Zongo in future. But that has changed, It changed since I started asking myself whether there is something called the "Zongo Dream". I started asking myself many questions and getting them answered in my mind.

After passing the test set for me by myself in my mind on the topic "Give reasons you believe there is something called the "Zongo Dream'. I came to the conclusion that, yes, indeed, there is a Zongo Dream. And many of us have been working hard to attain the Zongo dream unconsciously. To live it and pass it on to the next generation of Zongo.

Every child I believe loves to have a good start, but if the child does not get the good start, he/she starts dreaming of that good moment in his/her life in future. Now, that thought of a good moment is a Zongo dream.

I might not have a scientific proof to back this up, but I believe many of us from the Zongos didn't have a good start growing up and many of the little ones today are also not having a good start.

What do I mean by a good start?

To have the best of education, be it secular or Arabic, to have the best of clothes to wear, to have the best of toys, to be ridden to school every day, to have your birthday celebrated in a grand style, to be taken to the shopping mall even if it's for window shopping, to have a party thrown for you for topping the class or for being among the top five. That is what I meant when I say a "good start".

But as we grow, we start shaping our thoughts towards the Zongo dream. The negative ones are definitely a dream but not a Zongo dream. There are many who are working towards attaining that dream. And that is evident in the nominations that came through when Change for Zongo Youth called for people to nominate Zongo youth who are causing positive change in their own little ways during the maiden celebration of the "Zongo Youth Month" in 2016. And the nominations that came through this year as well. We read about the great things many of these youth are doing.

The positive vibes they are spreading and the lives they are touching. The barriers they are breaking and the positive news they are making internationally. Yes, you know them, they are your friends on social media, they are your friends in the community, they sit with you at the 'sitting base' and they go to the street parties (Ashad) with you. Some are already living it but I believe they are in the minority and might not even realize they are living the Zongo dream.

Each and every one of us can live the Zongo dream, provided we start working towards it, like Abu, who recently got employed for the first time and is happy on the job. Like Inusah Mohammed who is inspiring Nima youth to make reading a habit. Like Ijahra Larry Chibara, who thinks we have too many mosques and that we need to now channel the funds to build the minds of the little ones for the betterment of Zongo community.

Like ZakiyyahZakia Suleman who after being asked several times to give sex for a job, decided to start a business of her own and due to that, she got featured on many of our local TV channels, Print and on BBC Hausa.

Asmaa Bint Ayub, who is helping the Zongo girls to position themselves well for opportunities by mentoring them and holding a 'biased' all female talks. Like Nazir Iddriss who founded Africa Express, a delivery company to meet the needs of those who need delivery service daily and to help reduce the higher unemployment rate in our Zongos. Like Bilkis Mukhtar, who after selling bread to fund her education, got admitted into Asheshi University, worked hard and earned a scholarship from MasterCard, and is also now giving back to the community by sponsoring the education of other girls. Like Moh Awudu who is breaking barriers with his art and also teaching the little ones to become great artists. Like brother Joe at Newtown Akotex, who is very popular for his craftsmanship as a carpenter. Like Nene Buer Boyetey II whose skills in graphic designing is top-notch.

Like Dr. Amina Sanni-Toure and Dr. Hajara Inna Futa who takes to heart the health of the community. And many who I know but can't mention all of them.

Being a responsible youth puts you on the right track to realizing the Zongo dream.Not underrating your ability to break-through regardless.

Standing up for others and knowing that being selfish and not having the community at heart is to set on a journey of self-destruction.