“I hope that every young girl will see herself as great even before the greatness comes. It serves as a form of validation for my work. I hope this honour will help young girls know that whatever their background are, they should never determine the story”- Abisoye Ajayi- Akinfolarin stated in an interview with Guardian Woman.

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin, the first Nigerian to emerge a CNN Hero. She is a social entrepreneur born on 19 May 1985. She is the founder of Pearls Africa Youth Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation aimed at educating young girls in under-served areas in Nigeria with technology skills. One of the initiatives of Pearls Africa is Girls Coding.

Speaking in the interview, Abisoye said that, while she was young, she knew she had to work really hard to succeed and that’s exactly what she did. She combined schooling with her business and an internship in an IT audit company due to the struggles she experienced. She said, “my mother passed on when I was four years and it caused a lot of hardships financially, physically, and emotionally. So, my brother became my father even as he tried to survive in the university without support from anyone.”

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin

According to Abisoye, with Girls Coding, she has been able to boost girls’ self-esteem which has made them to believe in themselves as well as know their rights. Basically, Girls Coding give young girls a stronger voice in society because aside their formal education, they now have skills which is economically viable.

She hopes that every young girls can see that they are enough and there is no limit to what they can achieve life. She also hopes that every young girls can use her story and journey as an example that anything is possible, and they can fulfil their destiny in life, regardless of where are coming from.

Abisoye Ajayi-Akinfolarin concluded that, no matter the challenges, giving up on one’s dream should never be an option. Also, everyone should try their best to see that their work can solve problems and add value to the society because it makes the world a better place.

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