My 2019 Story

My 2019 Story

06/January/2019 I journeyed to Abuja by road for the Commonwealth Scholarship Interview. I was so confident about it and was sure going to kill it. It was a lot of stress trying to make extra copies that I was asked to and almost getting in, I was already oppressed by the secretary, your are not coordinated, I don’t think you will be qualified she said. Village people I thought to myself. To cut the story short, I answered all questions and believed I was good.
On my way back to Lagos, the vehicle I boarded broke down at LokojaWe were not even close to Lagos when it occured. I managed to get #500 Naira from the driver and God blessings I had extra cash. I arrived Lagos Past 1:00 am midnight and had to sleep in the park. I felt so cold and I was traumatized. I couldn’t sleep and it was hell. Things we go through to achieve our dreams. In February, I was longlisted for Chevening and I was super happy. I got my referee to submit and I was rejected. I felt traumatized receiving this rejection. It never got to me this way. Infact, I was shaking and had to pause. Took my time and continued with my application for the Commonwealth shared application. I was rejected for all of those. I also applied for couple of applications and it was the regular “Unfortunately we received” message pops I got. I was extremely tired and I never stopped applying. I appreciated people more. I could recall my colleagues at the Carrington Fellowship nominating me to win the U.S Consul General’s Award and that showed me that my validation doesn’t come from those opportunities but my work. I also made a resolution that “It’s not my loss, If I wasn’t selected. It’s theirs, they are rejecting a star” A star shines whether they get rejected or not. I got depressed at some point, because I couldn’t take care of myself. I could recall attending a program and I had to wait for everyone to leave before I could because I was scared of not being able to cater for other people’s transport. I had to always calculate the money I have to attend the events. I was ashamed to ask relatives in the house for money. It got to a stage, I was asked Is it certificate we want to eat?. sometime this is what we go through as a young person. I was down, cried multiple times but with my smiles to cover. I could recall a friend once asked i stand in for her at a particular event and she said, “You will get honorarium” I spoke, jumped up to the excitement. I only got food and drink, different from my expectations. I was down. In some events, food Won’t even be offered. While leaving the place, I was calculating my transport. More so, the cab I took, my pay balance was given to the wrong person and the person eluded with my money. I fought, I fought at the park for my right. “A lot happens behind the scene”. I called my uncle and he had to send me money and I took Molue (The Big Commercial Bus for commons in Lagos). I managed to get home preparing for another trip the next day. I ultimately know that the pain won’t last.On a sudden day, I woke up around 7:00 am, picked up my phone and mistakenly dialed my friend Number Victoria Ibiwoye on WhatsApp. I never knew she was awake. She picked and had to tell her “It was a mistake”, but the mistake turned to conversation” We spoke about a lot of things, rejections and many more. she asked, “Hammed, what are you doing currently apart from the scholarship you have applied for?. To which I responded “I am running my Non-profit as usual as well as Farmignite as a Co-founder” She asked, “Can you apply for the Peace First Fellow-in-Residence” and I did. The CEO also sent the application to me to share with others. I knew I was applying, regardless I shared the opportunity to others. Deep within me, “I knew I was not competing with others” It was 16 questions, and I applied within a day. I got into the interview, I had 5 interviews, 1 real time task and all lasted for about 5 hours and 45 minutes/3-4 weeks. What was I saying in the interview, you might wonder. I was sharing my life experience, my story, my dream as well as my 12 years of experience working on development issues and how I have been leading several social innovation project. The knowledge at the Carrington Fellowship, African Youth SDGs Summit and the rest came handy. The truth is you would never know what you are going through is preparing you for the greater good. July 1st, I got a call I have been selected as a Peace First Fellow-in-Residence for Sub-Saharan Africa, this comes with a lot of opportunities. I was meant to travel to the U.K for our retreat but my Visa took time and was denied. I could recall being vulnerable to ask people for money so I can pay my Visa fee. Thanks to Friends for coming through. Fellas “I was reimbursed for my Visa despite not making it”.

In August, I was also selected for the IDS Graduate Scholarship at the Prestigious University of Sussex, which I couldn’t defer and I had to let go. “According to the IDS school, “They said, Your application was very strong and we will consider it again next year”. I know you may want to know why I turned it down “Integrity and Personal Reasons”. However, Peace First has been a great blessing. The love from the team, the training and opportunity to lead over 200 young people from over 35 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa is a big deal and seeing this young people create massive social change brings me massive joy.
The remaining 6 months, was a blessing. I started getting Paid speaking gig and even accommodation covered. I was in Dubai to serve as a Resource as a Fellow-in-Residence/co-support an accelerator. Got couple of awards too and honor! And a lot is still coming that I am yet to share.

I also got the YALI social media influencer award and SalesRuby 50 Nigerian LinkedIn top personalities.

I mean telling my stories paid off! Doing the real work and not giving up. I am really blessed by people. I could recall in one of my interviews, someone said “Hammed, we have heard a lot about you” and this alone was humbling and it’s an evidence that I should never dim my light.

I am really grateful to people and those that trusted me and were speaking for me when I was not there!

I also got the courage to publish my book The Africa I Dream To see after completing it since 2018. I am glad today, I can cover my basic needs and I am still in the process of being.

We also did well through my NGO “Kayode Alabi Leadership and Career Initiative (KLCI)“, we reached 1567 students, engaged 60 volunteers, provide scholarship opportunities for 8 students and raised up to $1200 in cash and kind. I am grateful to the people who supported, someI haven’t met them physically. Thanks for trusting me!

To connect With Hameed Kayode Alabi

Instagram @Iamkayfactor

Twitter @Iamkayfactor


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