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Illustration by Simone Martin-Newberry

A 15-Year-Old Nigerian Student Lends Her Voice to the Fight Against Boko Haram With Graphic Novel

Aisha Mustapha's graphic novel about her experiences under Boko Haram was published today for International Day of the Girl.

Aisha Mustapha, is a 15-year-old student from Nigeria, using her voice to tell her own story. The young writer recently penned a graphic novel about her experience fleeing Boko Haram, locating her family and trying to further her education. It's a heavy subject, obviously, but with her graphic novel, she offers a voice for young people directly affected by the crisis in Northern Nigeria.

The book was published today to mark the International Day of the Girl, a day established by the United Nations in 2011 to "highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfillment of their human rights."

Aisha's talent for storytelling has previously been highlighted in Assembly, a by-girls-for-girls publication by the Malala Fund that brought Aisha's graphic novel to life, premiering it today in conjunction with International Day of the GIrl. Tess Thomas, Assembly's editor, elaborated on the purpose of the publication saying, "We believe in the power of girls' voices to generate change. Our publication provides girls with a platform so their opinions and experiences can inform decisions about their futures."

Aisha's words were illustrated by artist Simone Martin-Newberry, who had this to say about the process of creating the visuals for the graphic novel: "I was very moved by Aisha's story, and really wanted to treat it sensitively and do it justice with my illustrations. My aim was to capture the real emotions and actions of the story, but also keep my artwork bright and colorful and full of pattern, to help reflect Aisha's amazing youthful spirit."

Check out some excerpts from the piece below and head

here to read it in full.

Illustration by Simone Martin-Newberry

Illustration by Simone Martin-Newberry

Illustration by Simone Martin-Newberry

Illustration by Simone Martin-Newberry

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Image courtesy of Chude Jideonwo

Nigerian Mental Health Advocate Chude Jideonwo Shares Practical Ways Of Coping During COVID

We speak with the founder of Joy Inc. about the mental health challenges facing Nigerians, how many have managed to find effective ways to cope, and the online resources available to the community.

Never in our lifetimes have we experienced a pandemic of this gravity. As COVID-19 cases rise in Nigeria, Nigerians aren't just worried about getting the virus, they are also concerned about a host of other challenges: our lack of efficient and effective healthcare—which is overwhelmed even without a pandemic—the lack of appropriate data, and the high levels of poverty and illiteracy in the country that make it difficult to enforce the strategies that will enable us to handle the pandemic and keep it under control.

In a bid to understand how Nigerians are dealing with mental health challenges now, on the ground, due to the pandemic—which has led to a lockdown restricting movement and also social distancing rules—we spoke with Nigerian journalist, lawyer and mental healthcare advocate Chude Jideonwo, who is the founder of Joy Inc. He shared insights from his experiences with The Joy Inc., which he founded in 2016 to help young people going through mental and emotional challenges. He aimed to help provide young Nigerians with tools to help navigate the world around them.

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