Four days ago, I went to buy fuel for a generator. While returning, I decided to get ice-cream from an ice-cream seller who sold his ice-cream on a bicycle. A young man like myself, I mean will be in the same age range.
I decided to engage him in a discussion. I got suddenly concerned about him. So I asked, “How has the country been so far, and how have you been coping with the hardship in the country?”
He replied by saying, “Well, it’s not quite easy but I have been trying my best and also trusting God”. I decided to push the question further, so I asked, “What’s your plan for success, do you intend to spend the rest of your life riding ice-cream on this bicycle?”
I actually saw the shock on his face because he didn’t see that coming, I mean a random ice-cream patronizer asking such question. Then he opened up, he said, “I’m a secondary school dropout and I have an interest in fashion designing, so I bought a machine and some other things, and I have a little skill in it but because I want to further my skills and learn from a professional, so I decided to start selling ice-cream so as to save up”.
Not a bad idea right, but who saves up from selling ice-cream? I mean the profit is barely enough to feed oneself, pay for shelter, clothes talk less of saving up, except if I’m wrong though. So I decided to ask how long he has been saving up, that means how long has he been selling ice-cream.
His reply was shocking. He told me 2019 will make it his fourth year and I’m not kidding. So for four years he’s been trying to save up just to get professional knowledge or some sort.
Well, I knew I could help him, I had a temporary solution that could help him scale. Matter of fact, I have a solution that would help millions of youths in Nigeria. So I decided to let him on it by asking more questions.
The next question I threw at him was if he had an Android phone and he did. Matter of fact, he said he spends about two thousand five hundred naira to subscribe monthly on his phone to watch sports and live news.
Well, that’s it, you have a solution! You’ve got a phone and access to the internet, that’s it!
I told him that he could learn fashion designing online from different professionals to an extent. He could learn from YouTube. This young folk asked how it was possible to learn his dream skill on YouTube. So, I brought out my phone, went to YouTube, streamed some videos on fashion designing for him to see, and he was shocked and excited.
So I gave a break down, why don’t you spend a thousand naira on monthly subscription, then the remaining one thousand five hundred naira as a budget for night subscription. Since he said he closes from work by 5-6 pm, then sleeps from 8pm till the next day, he could reschedule his resting time so that he could wake up at least 3 hours at night to both download and practice what he learnt seeing his machine is at home.
I had to get his number so as to guide him and mentor him.
We have millions of youths out there who are unemployed and we can push the blame on the government, and all which is fine. However, I have discovered that lack of access to the relevant knowledge that is capable of equipping youths to be relevant in the labour market is the main problem.
The real definition of education is the access to the knowledge that makes one relevant in the society per time and we can see that the school is defaulting in that. But my blame is not on the school, matter of fact, there’s nobody to blame, there’s only action to take and it’s not directed at university students alone, it’s for everyone, any age, any group, any class. My mission is to connect Africans to the right source of knowledge that will equip them either they go to university, they are in the university or are through with university education.
What’s your own role?