Joy as Nigerian lady, Solace Ojotule, who hawked while in school moves to UK for studies in style. She is currently at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom on a scholarship that is fully funded by MasterCard.
A Nigerian lady, Solace Ojotule, has celebrated moving to the United Kingdom after bagging a MasterCard fully funded scholarship
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Celebrating the feat on LinkedIn with beautiful pictures she took in the UK, Solace gave an insight into the challenges she faced while growing up.
According to Solace, her mother lost all the properties after her father passed away when she was 4 because she couldn’t deliver a male child. Left to cater for 5 daughters alone, her mother struggled to make ends meet.
She said there wasn’t any term in primary school they weren’t sent home for not paying their school fees.
Solace stated that the struggle continued even till she finished her university education. Whenever she returned home from school, she would hawk her mother’s caustic soap all over the market.
This was in a bid to get funds for the next tuition fees.
Read Solace’s story below:
If anyone told me that I will study in the UK in 2021, I wouldn’t have believed it. Yes, I have dreams, but how and when it was going to come to a reality, I didn’t know. All I had was big dreams, and nothing else.
It was in the year 2000 that the dark days began for my family. I was just 4 when I lost my Dad. As a child, I didn’t even know the gravity of what happened, but as I continued to grow older, reality dawned on me.
You see, my mother gave birth to 5 girls and because she didn’t have a male child, she was greatly humiliated. The girls were abandoned with their mother after all properties have been seized by paternal relations.
Then the real struggle began for us as kids and for our mother who was now both the father and mother. All hopes went down the drain and it looked like there was no future for me. Life ended before it began in the real sense.
Paying for education, feeding, and clothing 5 girls was a struggle for my mother. The struggle through primary school began. A term won’t go by without us being chased from school for not paying school fees. Every night, my mother would wet her pillows and cry. Still, she chose to stay with her children. The struggle continued through secondary school.
In 2006, I graduated from primary school and stayed at home for weeks while my mates proceeded to secondary school. My mother couldn’t afford secondary school registration fee.
I would hawk caustic Soda early in the morning while seeing my mates in school uniform going to school. My mates would see me and ask why I wasn’t in school.
Then I was so lucky that the Kogi State Government introduced free education for junior secondary school students, (Universal Basic Education) but even at that, to raise funds to sew a UBE uniform for me was a problem.
One faithful day, I walked in front of my mother to sell the Cock she was reserving for Christmas. The 700 Naira that came from the sale of a Cock sew my first secondary school uniform.
The struggle also continued through the university. I will return home from the campus to hawk my mother’s caustic soap still all over the market in a wheelbarrow, just to gather funds for the next tuition fee.
An undergrad. and a market woman. I made sure I did my best, played my role to have enough funds to continue my education. There were days of starvation, hunger, and shabby clothing on campus. Even basic textbooks, I couldn’t afford. I resulted in using library resources. Only me knew what I was going through.
Fast forward to 2017, I graduated and in 2018, I went for my National Youth assignment. Wearing that NYSC uniform came with so much joy because I knew the struggles I went through to have them on.
I was literally crying when I wore that uniform in August 2018. But God said the best was yet to come. I geared up in pursuit of success. The motivation is to put a smile on my mother’s face. Especially for being mocked for having girl children
I’m someone who loves studying and have always had the intention to have my Masters. But then, I knew that I couldn’t bother my mother with the cost of graduate education anymore and will have to wait for more years to gather money to go back to school. So, I decided to apply for scholarships. In 2019 and 2020, I threw in applications and got rejected.
Today, I cried, but this time, it was not tears of sorrow and lacks anymore, it is tears of joy because I don’t have to drop a tear to pay a Masters tuition fee.
I have been awarded a fully-funded Mastercard Foundation Scholars Programme at the University of Edinburgh to study in the 16th best university in the world(QS world ranking), and the 5th best university in the UK, the prestigious The University of Edinburgh .
I arrived in the UK and I still can’t believe it’s this ‘ordinary’ girl. Me that can’t even sponsor a trip to Niger Republic. It is still like a dream.. The way I’m feeling now is such that I can’t explain… I’m happy to prove that GIRLS can do it. Our dreams are valid. And to see my mother smile after all those struggles, I’m perplexed. This is all I have ever wanted. To see my mama smiling and to prove that female children have no boundaries. We are able.
People congratulate her
Joseph Okezi said: “Quite an inspiring story. Congratulations! I wish you more success.”
Abolade Durokifa commented: “Go girl! I am proud of you. May the Lord Almighty perfect that which He has started in your life. Dreams are truly valid.
Abiola Dauda stated: “Congratulations Solace Ojotule You have really come a long way, May the journey ahead from now be easier and rewarding for you.”
Jennifer O Francis wrote: “Congratulation… Super proud of you! Greater feats and blessings await you.”
Oladebo Tinuola remarked: “Oh what a story. It’s amazing to say the times of teary sorry is over for you. Congratulations “
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