25-year-old Mariama Alpha Timbo from Sierra Leone has found a unique way to break the cycle of poverty and gender-based oppression as she becomes the first ever know female biker in Sierra Leone. She recognizes the difficulties of living as a woman in Sierra Leone without a job, which she says leads to molestation and embarrassment. In order to survive and inspire other women in her country, Mariama has taken it upon herself to become a commercial biker, and even teaches other women in Makeni how to do the same.
Although it may have been intimidating at first to ride among men, particularly on highways, Mariama has become well-accustomed to street signs and languages, and has even earned the nickname of “Sharp baby” amongst male okada riders. She is also using the money she has earned to save up for her university tuition, and is working towards becoming a successful businesswoman in Sierra Leone.
Her bike is being supported by the World Bank, through an organization called Ewomen. Through this support, Mariama is determined to create a better future for herself and other women in her country.