In the Yoruba Language, Ajegunle means the “base of wealth” or “land of commerce” yet, when most people in Lagos hear the word Ajegunle, they think of poverty, violence, prostitution and other social problems. To Segun Shetan, Ajegunle means potential, possibility and hope. That is why after completing LEAP Africa’s Youth Leadership Programme (YLP), he decided to start Bright Youth Organization (BYO). Through this organization, Segun encourages Ajegunle secondary school students to live a positive lifestyle and teaches them leadership skills.
The BYO programme was launched in April 2004 with forty student representatives from twenty-two secondary schools in Ajegunle. It is a weekly workshop after which representatives are expected to return to their schools and share what they learnt with their classmates. The curriculum for each workshop is meant to inspire the students to discover themselves and fulfill their potential, while also learning the importance of living positively. In addition to the workshop, Segun encourages the students to express themselves creatively. He organized a dance troupe for students who are interested in performance. The group performed at different occasions all over Lagos, including at LEAP Africa’s 4th Annual Youth Leadership Award ceremony in 2007. Segun also takes the students on occasional excursions throughout Lagos and organizes an annual, day-long programme for all secondary school students in the Ajegunele area. Five hundred (500) students usually attend. Some of the programme themes have been Decision Making and Its Impact, as well as Morality: A Check on Society, which featured Fela Durotoye as a guest speaker. Segun believes that it is easy for the young people to fall into a life of immorality, especially as this is what most people expect of Ajegunele youths. However, through his enthusiasm and hard work, Segun is surely making a difference in their lives. One of his programme participants recently received a scholarship from Kenna & Associates, a legal firm, after they saw her performance at the LEAP Awards. The organization payed for her secondary education and is currently sponsoring her university education.
Come Get A Job
When Segun decided to organize a workshop entitled “Come Get a Job” he wanted to teach his students how to maximize their potential and invest in their abilities. He planned to encourage them to make pocket money honorably, by offering survives like tutoring, cleaning and babysitting. Segun used his personal experience to craft the workshop. In 2004, he started his own laundry and dry cleaning business which he still manages, in addition to his weekly workshop, despite being a busy university student. He uses the profits from his business to fund Ajegunle programme and for his spending money. He also has an employee who runs the business when his is not around. By successfully doing what he encourages his students to do, Segun has further earned their trust as a mentor and role model.
Excerpts from the book “Rage for Change”
It is very easy to say, “this is just the way things are in Nigeria” and accept the situation, instead of believing that Nigeria deserves and can have better.
The story above proves that with a little guidance and enthusiasm for a better Nigeria, anyone can become an agent for positive change. Nigeria youth should have no more reasons (excuses!) to remain idle or discouraged because Nigeria needs your contribution.
The first objective of the book is to convince young Nigerians that they can be leaders and instruments of change in our country today. The book uses the stories and “change projects” of some of LEAP Africa’s many outstanding alumni to show that is possible to make positive change in Nigeria even as a young person.
The second goal of the book is to provide young people who want to make a difference in their communities with the tools they need to do so. We believe that anyone old enough to read this book is old enough to practice what it says and make a difference. We hope that the stories in this book will inspire young people to take a stand for change in their communities, because the success of Nigeria relies on its young people.