Abdullahi Idris; Founder, BookMySchool Initiative
I grew up in a society where there is a gap between youth and leadership. Today I am closing that gap thanks to my LEAP experience.
My name is Abdullahi Idris. I am a social entrepreneur and the chairman BookMySchool Initiative, an NGO that provides free textbooks to public secondary schools across Nigeria.
My first encounter with LEAP was back in 2006 when I received the Nigerian Youth Leadership Awards. I received the award for encouraging young people to become voluntary blood donors to save lives and ensure the provision of safe and quality blood for use when ever the need arises, especially for accident victims, delivering mothers, etc. Today I still preach the gospel of voluntary blood donation and I have donated 36 times and still counting.
At the point of receiving the award, I was naive and unaware of my potentials and the abundant opportunities available to me as a young person. After the one year Youth Leadership Program (YLP) my life changed and since then I have become a solution to various social issues in my society. The YLP was the platform that helped me to explore and develop my leadership potentials.
Soon after my university, I was posted to Taraba state for my National Youth Service. Upon my arrival in Taraba, my rage for change was ignited (something I learnt from LEAP). I noticed a lot of challenges, but I was more passionate about education and health and since I was teaching in a school, I noticed almost immediately the absence of a library and other learning and teaching resources in the school which was hindering my ability to teach effectively.
So I put together a community project around the issue and established a library for the school, furnished it, stocked it with over 450 textbooks and renovated 2 classrooms. Essentially, the lessons learned during the one year programme became very useful while I went through the process of executing the project; From proposal writing to fund raising and networking, I had an idea of what to do at every stage.
At the end of my service year, I was awarded the Taraba State NYSC awards and later I received the NYSC Presidents Honors Awards by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
I believe that each human life is uniquely valuable and it is the responsibility of every man and woman to ensure each one of us lives life to the fullest. To sustain that, we need to help one another other. This principle has been my inspiration and motivation amongst others. Although I have faced a lot of challenges, I never give up and that attitude and spirit has kept me going.
Leadership is the art of being responsible and being able to make an impact in the lives of others in any way possible. I have come to realise that to achieve great things you have to be responsible and that’s one of the first step of being a leader. Over the years, my success has been attributed to the fact that I continue to be committed, responsible, dedicated and above all passionate about whatever I lay my hands on.
For me LEAP is not part of my story but LEAP is my story and the story I tell.
As a result of his passion for youth development and positive change, Abdullahi has received numerous awards including the Nigerian Youth Leadership Award by LEAP Africa for his role in creating positive impact on the lives of the people. He recently received the National Youth Service Corps Presidents Honors Award 2014 conferred on him by former President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. The event was held on the 2nd of March, 2015 and Mr. Abdullahi Idris was amongst the 164 corps members rewarded for an outstanding performance during the National Service year.
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