ISERH EXC. DIRECTOR ON A WHITE HOUSE TOUR!!!
Abdulahi Abayomi Abdulraheem
ISERH Executive Director
Getting an entrance into the US/World Empire of Power, White House, is never a big deal that requires one to write a blog about. This statement is never offensive but highly expected of whoever that knows not of my story, and the start-up story of my organization (Initiative for Sound Education, Relationship & Health) that has qualified me for the tour, as it did win me the tickets to the Nigeria Senate – on the invitation of the Senate President; to the National House of Representatives – on the invitation of the House Speaker; and the Banquet Hall, State House, Abuja – on the invitation of the Minister for Budget and National Planning.
It is an indisputable fact that being the world richest man or a country’s president does not open the White House Gate for you, except you are invited or approved for a tour. Being a citizen of the United States or having lived in the United States for 25 years and more does not win you an automatic entrance into the White House. Why won’t my TOUR be a BIG DEAL to ME, my family and every follower of my profession?
I write this blog to strengthen the hope and awaken the giant in every young people throughout the world. Reading this short story of mine could transform someone’s life (God willing), the same way mine metamorphoses into what it is today. It could even jettison committing suicide out of a young man/woman summoning courage to end his/her life, consequent upon rejections and disappointments faced.
I was an active disguised Okada Rider (commercial motorcycler) in Ilesa, Osun State, Nigeria, for a period of 4 months after my first degree. I disguised because I never wanted my mum and friends to know that I was into commercial motorcycling. Having been seriously beaten by a co-okada rider, I approached two friends of mine, Isiaq Akinwole and Dauda Oladele, for a loan to start a small food stuff business. I resulted to part-time Okada riding while I shared the remaining parts of my time coaching students and manning my food stuff business. During this period, I got exposed to how morally decayed my society has become and how majority of school-age students drop out of high schools. Majority of those in schools among them that I carried consistently to school discussed fun of having sex, being a cult member and writing their Secondary School Leaving Certificate Examinations (SSCE) and Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examinations (UTME) through cheating centers. Only few discussed their academic efforts and successes.
As a trained Demographer and Social Statistician, I carried out some findings, after being encouraged by a friend. My findings revealed that the sky-rocketing failure rate in these examinations ‘SSCE and UTME’ is the leading cause. At the point of thinking of how I could intervene,Aspiring the Best Competition (ABC) came to life, in 2014. This competition was primarily set up to familiarize these students to how SSCE/UTME are conducted and for them to measure their academic readiness to face and conquer these examinations with no external/internal supports. We as well award free SSCE/UTME Form to students who make 75% and above in the competition. The dropped-out students are then given the chance to go back to school through this project.
I approached those I thought would buy and support my initiative, but I was left more depressed and disappointed. Some of them talked me down while others simply advised me to look for something better to do or simply join the well-known cheating centers. I went back home more depressed but strongly more convinced that I could do it. I made the last conclusion of sacrificing my present and future for the actualization of this dream. I resolved to implementing the first edition with my food stuff business capital. Then, the journey started.Through this project, I got my first job.
Today, Initiative for Sound Education, Relationship & Health (ISERH) has successfully sponsored more than 80 students for SSCE/UTME, and presently have over 40 of them in the universities. We now have schools that have adopted Aspiring the Best Competition (ABC) as a compulsory competition for their students who want to write SSCE/UTME, while many states are waiting for us to extend the project to them. Their decision is not far from the success stories of how the participants of the competition speedily turn a new leaf and become icons. ‘ISERH Ambassador’ is now an appellation every student wants to have attached to their names. Our Ambassadors now network among themselves and become role models for others to emulate. They are fast becoming the leaders I dreamt I could raise through my initiative.ISERH Best Speller that emerged after winning the maiden edition of I-SPELLING Bee Competition, went from local to the national to become 2nd Runner-Up of the Nigeria Scripps National Spelling Bee.
If God can use me to transform so many young people’s lives (still counting), shut the mouths of those who turned me down and now divinely compensating my hard work, selflessness and the belief in the ability to positively transform young people’s orientation, I believe you can as well be celebrated. Although, riches I have not, but I am far wealthier than I could have dreamt of. I am not yet where I want to be but I am far better than who I was!
Atlas Corps Fellowship is a plus to my medals and she is the key Allah/God uses to open my door to the world. My dreams get bigger than my imagination every day. Sustainability plan of my organization and her programs becomes clearer but complex. The doors my parents could not move closer to knock are now being opened for their once ‘Okada rider’ son. I am no longer my parent’s son alone, but the global son, simply because, I failed to believe those who said I WOULD FAIL…
The disguised okada rider is now serving as the Program Impact and Evaluation Fellow with the world largest volunteer organization:Points of Light courtesy of Atlas Corps. The ABC I started few years back now has a registration portal www.abcexam.iserh.org.
To Allah (SWT) alone I return all Glories…
Dear readers, never ever quit pursuing your dream, simply because people tell you ‘IT IS BEYOND YOUR ABILITY TO ACHIEVE/ACCOMPLISHor IT IS TOO BIG FOR YOU!!!’
Atlas Corps Fellow
ISERH Exc. Director