By Elsa Sichrovsky
Aminata Salifou Mody is a cultural ambassador whose passion is sharing the culture and beauty of her country, Niger, with the world. To find out more about her cultural celebration of Niger, I contacted her on Instagram and she graciously took time out of her busy schedule to answer my questions. Below is our discussion about how to increase awareness of Niger on an international scale.
- Please introduce yourself and your work as a cultural ambassador.
My name is Aminata Salifou Mody, known by the pseudonym of #Hajia culture. My basic training is in the audiovisual field. I was fortunate enough to be part of the Art and Culture branch of Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey coordinated by Professor Tidjani Alou Antoinette and the Master in World Heritage and cultural projects for development in Turin, Italy. I am also the coordinator of the NGO Al Adun Gargajiya (ALDU Niger). As a cultural ambassador, I often say that I am a “patriot” wanting to awaken awareness of our cultural richness.
- What are some misconceptions about Niger that need to be challenged?
I would say that the very first is the fact that Niger is often confused with the neighboring country, Nigeria.
- How do you think we can help people not confuse Niger with Nigeria?
By promoting Niger as much as we can, through music, film, and interviews. By giving us Nigeriens the chance to talk about our country.
- What do you want people to think of when they think of Niger?
Culture, social cohesion, peace, and brotherhood.
- What is a place in Niger that everyone must go to?
For me, everyone must go to all the 8 regions (including Niamey) of Niger because every region is special, unique, and has its particularity and beauty.
- What are some special places in Niger?
The Mosque of Agadez
The Sahara Desert
The Parc W (W Bénin-Niger National Park)
The Fleuve Niger (Niger River)
- What is the mission of AL ADUN Gargajiya?
The NGO Al Adun Gargajiya has set itself the general objective of helping to promote national culture through an ideal of peace, tolerance, and sharing among all young people in Nigerien society.
- What new projects are you working on currently?
Taking the NGO to an international level, by creating partnerships that will help me export Nigérien culture.
- What would you like to say to Nigerien girls and women?
Believe in yourself, train yourself. When you get involved in a project, you have to go all the way. The first obstacles should never discourage a committed person. Believe in yourself and put education and training first, because that’s the one thing that cannot be taken from you. What’s in your head, no one will be able to get hold of. Also, take an interest in your cultural identity because it is part of you. Choose what’s best for you without trying to prove things to anyone. Live your life…. be yourself!
Aminata’s stirring words to Nigerien girls and women echo what Wells Bring Hope is striving to provide: education for women so they can take advantage of the economic and social agency that comes with knowledge. With access to the education and resources to develop their talents, they, too, can become cultural ambassadors like Aminata and remove Niger from its current state of relative obscurity. Give Nigerien girls and women the power to change their futures by donating or volunteering with Wells Bring Hope.