Meet our Muslim Woman Achiever, Zaina Jajah of Zjajah Creations, a self taught hand made custom clothing and accessories designer.
This she achieved despite the challenges she went through in her young life. Her story is s such a big inspiration.
We love it because it sums up the popular saying, life is not a bed of roses but we still got to be determined.
Inspired by African history, heritage and beliefs, her clothing line gained a major fashion recognition with her 2018 Spring/Summer collection “SS#18 BORESAH “ in IFASHION Magazine for New York Fashion Week in February, 2018 at the World Trade Center in New York City.
And this came shortly after her first collection themed “BEAUTY & PRIDE” was showcased in Boston with Josefa Da Silva in August, 2017 and was also featured in BFW kick off with Ann Maven in the same year. Awesome!!
In an interview, Zaina revealed the untold stories of her past which motived her to become who she is today.
She said, “though there was no hope at that time, I look back and smile because it made me who I am.
When I remember the pain, it makes me resent my father so much because at the point when i needed someone to look up to my own father disowned me right before my eyes.”
But then again, it’s good, today I am doing great all by myself. I didn’t dwell on the negativities of yesterday.
During Zaina’s Senior High days, it was all fun until she graduated from Labone Senior High in 2005. Her mum lived abroad then, so she lived with her granny at Mamobi who raised her.
Unfortunately, her grand mum died just when life had just began in her teens. After her demise,life became very challenging for me. She stressed.
My own family members I thought will be there for me treated me in a disheartening manner. As for my father, I resented him because I was the only remedy to his frustration. He was always on me with his frustration of breaking up with my mum. I remember very well the day he took me to my granny’s house and said to her that he’s not my father again. This was the most heart breaking moment of my entire life. Imagine your own father saying this!
“At a point in my life, I converted to Christianity. Oh yes! It was the most challenging moment of my life. I am a very strong practising Muslim woman who comes from a strong Muslim home, been to Arabic school and know what the Holy Quran teaches but I at a point in my life I had to do this.”
“For almost 3 years I attended church services with the family that took me as their own when all hope was lost. The way they treated me made me comfortable. I wanted to just be part of whatever they do.
The struggle was real such that my own family members, my father, my aunties and uncles whom I expected to show love in the absence of mum and late granny left me alone to my faith. The very ones who took me in at that time was a CHRISTIAN family. I was a friend to their daughter and she told them how difficult life was for me so they took me in to stay with them.
Aside the money my mum sends once awhile for my upkeep, my friend’s mother clothed, fed, sheltered and paid my fees. I became so comfortable living with them so wandered why I was still practising Islam when clearly my own people didn’t treat me right .”
One time, after church service someone from Mamobi saw me and informed my one of my aunties about my change of religion to Christianity. She invited and to me spoke heartedly.
Miraculously, on my way back to where I lived with my Christian Good Samaritan of a family, something touched my heart to change my mind on converting to Christian religion.
Up till date, the vow I made to Allah to serve Him diligently in whatever situation I find myself regardless any circumstance is still with me. I have a strong personally relationship with him. I am proud to say, am a strong Muslim woman who doesn’t joke with her prayers.
During my stay at Mamobi, aside helping my grand mum to sell fresh meat, I served as the go to phone receiving girl most of the Sakawa boys in my hood come to. I was very fluent in the Queens language so all those boys come to me to talk to their “foreign pals” in a bid to get them understand clearly what they want. I played this role not because I enjoyed it but for a fact that was getting some cash tips from them when the move goes through. Life was indeed a struggle.
Unfortunately for me, my with the sakawa guys didn’t end at only receiving calls for them, I got pregnant as a teen to one of the one without even knowing it was 6 months old till I visited the hospital.
“Out of frustration of having to deal with a society that frowns greatly on pregnancy before marriage, all I wish was to marry and move out of Mamobi, eventually I got married but the marriage was very abusive so when it came to an end and I moved back to the same neighbourhood I was running.”
Fast forward, she got the opportunity to travel to the USA where she went to a nursing school just so she could acquire a degree but realised it was also just a means an end so took a bold and significant career decision by dropping it to pursue her childhood dreams of becoming a Fashion Designer.
Today, she makes clothes for the young and old from all walks of life. She stressed that, if you haven’t pursued your dreams in any small way possible, then you haven’t lived the full potential of your life on this earth.
Aside designing her own clothes, she also works with a clothing store.
Zaina Jajah, a Gonja from Bole Bamboi attended Labone High School and went to Ghanatta College of Design and Art but didn’t graduate because of a circumstance beyond her control. But didn’t give up, she continued to Elite Nursing Academy and graduated as Nursing Assistant that landed her job with Nyaho Hospital and other care giving jobs for awhile in Ghana.
Her vision and continuing practice as a fashion Designer is to share all of the experiences, skills, knowledge, abilities and dreams to inspire and motivate other young girls.
No matter what life throws on your path, still Dream. Dreams are what molded this world so it’s never too late for anyone to pursue their passion.
Dreams shape us to become what we are. If you have an ambition go for it. As a Muslim woman, don’t set any limitations on yourself, once it’s not a negative thing to do, go for it and always aspire to be great!
Writer: Adizah Kuburah Braimah
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