I was familiar with the streets, as I had to sell bread before I went to school.
I felt like education was my ticket out of poverty, so I gave it everything I had. I worked really hard and was always top of my class. Learning was difficult in public schools. There were no books and the conditions were terrible. I would say, I’m a product of self-development. I studied Civil Engineering in Yaba Tech and graduated tops. I then moved to Yobe State in 2008, for my Youth Service.
I thought I had it bad in Lagos, but I was shocked by Yobe State. There were kids who had never seen the four walls of a school. I was in a local government called Nangere in a village called Degubi. I was crying at the state of things and the people were just carefree. I decided I was going to make a difference, even if it was in the life of one child.
I started a community school under the tree at the village square. I visited most of the parents and told them I was a corper and that was what I intended to do. I started with about 5 children. In the space of 3 months, we grew to about 60 children. The children became too many for me to handle so I had to ask other corpers to help. A few did. By the end of service year, there were over 150 children. I felt like I’d found what I was born to do. I got a state award for community development.
I returned to Lagos after NYSC. It was hard to stay back because Boko Haram was really brewing at the time. When I got back, I was torn between finding a regular 9 to 5 job or doing community service. I volunteered at an NGO, but my focus was education. I later started a community based initiative called TEACH (Transforming Education and Championing Health). We focus on public primary schools and see how we can use community resources to identify and solve the education and health needs of community schools. So far I’ve worked with 4 public schools.
I believe you’re not in control of the family you are born into, but you are in control of the decisions you make and can take responsibility for your life. I didn’t have a good start but I’m committed to having a great end.