top of page

Hadiza Isma El-Rufai

El-Rufai was born Hadiza Isma in Kano, Nigeria, to Mohammed Musa Isma and Amina Iya Isma.

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.

From there, she 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.


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.

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".

Along with her husband, El-Rufai set up Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation (YELF) in 2013 to honor her daughter who died of an epileptic seizure in her flat in London in November 2011. The literary non profit was fully launched in 2017 with the aims of nurturing creativity in children, "particularly the girl child, between the ages of eight and 19" and young/adult women, providing them "resources with teachers and the books that they need to enhance their literacy."

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.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn





Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation

is a non-political, non-profit and a non-governmental organisation duly incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria...


women day.jpg
International Literacy Day: Foundation Empowers 300 Women
bottom of page