Growing up was not particularly a great experience.  I grew up seeing other young kids living my own fantasies.  My parents separated when I was only four and I had to live with family members occasionally. Growing up was more like an avenue for me to see the other part of life in a way that it will later become my major concern.

Growing up in a developing country was fascinating; fascinating because most things were done in the abnormal way so much so that I have continually watched people crying for change from the age of 9 years old and as you may rightly have guessed; we are still yearning for change 20years after.

I grew up learning that getting to the top requires huge focus and diligence. After my high school days, I proceeded to the University. The University was a similar picture of our society inspiring my quest for change to grow wild. I joined an activist group which spoke out against ills on campus and took actions which were not immediately popular but in the end our names were written on the hearts of many years after we graduated.

Based on various works which I carried out on campus, I was invited for the Civicus Youth Assembly in 2007 and my whole life took another course; a course which I will for the rest of my life be committed to. At the event, I met young people who were contributing tremendously to the development of their communities and the great Gandhi’s quote reechoed, “Be the change you want to see in the world”. After the event, my life and my career took another dimension.

Today, I work in one of the most unpopular sector; the development sector, you can call it the Third sector. While most of my peers are chasing jobs in the corporate world and leaving the fantasies they have always dreamed of, I am reaping my fulfillment from bringing change to my community. My argument for committing a lifetime to what I currently do is borne out of the fact that if we all go about our businesses without paying attention to our communities, when these communities finally collapse, where would we practice our businesses?

I am 28plus and will be 29 years old in November, I am passionate about change and development, I am strong willed, extremely creative and highly resourceful, and I am who I am because of what I do.

My name is Olukayode Ajayi-Smith, I am a Nigerian.

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