"When I was Fifteen Years old, I observed that something was missing in the lives of my community students, something beyond a full stomach: dignity and self-identity. The students did not have the confidence to pursue their dreams, they did not know how to develop their dreams and make it a reality, they are poorly prepared to take on adulthood positions as I was taken by surprise, the resources are not readily available for them to pursue their dream. In all, they didn’t know how to plan their life."
These are the words of Abideen Olasupo, the Executive director of Brain Builders International.
To plug the social and economic gaps in his community in particular and Nigeria in general, he co-founded Brain Builders International (BBI) in 2014 with his fellow youth. The youth-based Non-governmental organization which is supported by the United Nation’s sustainable development goal partnership platform has reached out to over three hundred thousand youths across Nigeria on areas such as leadership, entrepreneurship, capacity development, and community development.
Nigeria has over 30 million youth population and 29.7% of these are unemployed. There is a need for collaboration among the government and other stakeholders to tackle this enormous problem and related ones. BBI is one of many organizations in the country that seek to do this.
"The question I always asked myself is, should we give our youth a warehouse full of resources to pursue their dreams? Is this really a sustainable act? I think, what I have to do is to empower the youth through training in leadership and entrepreneurship skills, I have to unleash Youth creative potentials and give them the chance to experience that they can and will be important contributors in their surroundings. I want to give them confidence, dignity, and identity to believe in their dreams and never allow their background put their back on the ground."
Abideen Olasupo, Executive director Brain Builders International
During our interview, Abideen also opined that the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) was barely realized in Nigeria because it was not integrated into the policies of the government timely and effectively. According to him, the organization exists to establish a working relationship with the government and advocate for the implementation, localization, and evaluation of the goals.
Moreover, BBI organizes a-day conference every year to commemorate world youth day and address burning issues facing the youth in the country. This year’s conference was held in July, brought together participants across the country who provided a policy framework that will help the government to reduce the number of out-of-school children in the country which is at an alarming rate of 13 million.
"Young people in Nigeria can aim for the top in any area of life they feel passionate about. I want them for example, to learn to celebrate their differences by discovering their own purpose. I want to empower them to become pathfinders, and to be able to create their own identities, with the renewal of their minds. Therefore, I want to bridge the gap in the life of youth by developing their leadership & entrepreneurship skills."