Borno is a state in northeastern Nigeria best known for being the place where the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram was born.

But Fati Abubakar was saddened that her beautiful hometown, Borno's capital city of Maiduguri, was known only for acts of horror and pain. Abubakar, 30, had grown up in Maiduguri and returned after studying for a master's degree in public health in Britain. When she returned in 2015, she was adamant that she would find scenes of happiness on the streets of her Nigerian home. So she picked up her camera and began searching for upbeat stories to tell.

Her Instagram and Facebook "Bits of Borno," explores the lives of the people who have been affected by the unrest where they live. There is a lot of sadness — but many smiles and amazing resilience.

"I wanted [to] document everyday life — individuals living in the community and still thriving and having businesses," Abubakar tells NPR. "I felt mainstream media hadn't focused on the rest of the population. It was just the internally displaced — and it was just mostly bomb blasts, death and destruction. And Boko Haram. They have failed to see that there's life, even in adversity. And that is what my page tries to capture."

Here's a look at some of her captivating images:


Abubakar often photographs children who are playing and laughing.

"I love children. They are very happy. Whatever is going on in town [they are] sometimes unaware of it," she says.

Girls just wanna have fun. [Little girls at Muna IDP camp during Eid] #photojournalist #photojournalism

A photo posted by Yerwa (@bitsofborno) on


A young boy at the Dalori nomadic community. #photojournalist #photojournalism #documentaryphotography

A photo posted by Yerwa (@bitsofborno) on

She also captures the strength and beauty of Borno's older generations.

African beauty An old woman in #Bama #photojournalist #photojournalism #documentaryphotography

A photo posted by Yerwa (@bitsofborno) on


Although Abubakar searches for smiles and happiness, she doesn't avoid the truth of life in an area devastated by the pain of terrorism.

"(People) have lived through terror, but still cannot cope because the economy is bad, they have health issues, (or) they cannot afford to live here," Abubakar tells CNN. "I think it takes its toll across the region."



Mary Jo DiLonardo Mary Jo writes about everything from health to parenting — and anything that helps explain why her dog does what he does.