Yes, You Can!

Original post by Ejowewe (http://temiladeagbaje.blogspot.com)

June 6, 2008
Yes, You Can!

We all know now that’s a winning line :). Over the past year and a half, the phrase has been sounded by a single man as a message of change, of hope rising… Last Tuesday we saw that hope begin to take on the semblance of reality, as Senator Barack Obama became the first African-American in history to lead a U.S. major-party ticket when he claimed the Presidential nomination for the Democratic Party. I’m happy for America. But this is entirely about Nigeria.

If you’re a Nigerian like me, how many times have you wished there was something you could do to change your country? Most of us are eager for change, but all too often that enthusiasm is quickly dampened by a feeling of helplessness over not being able to make a difference from where we are. Paradigm Initiative Nigeria (PIN) is a non-profit organisation that has refused to be bound by the limits and, as the name suggests, has consistently worked to create a new paradigm among Nigerians. Realising that the promise of Nigeria is in her people, PIN works with government, civil society, private institutions and international organisations to connect Nigerian youth with brighter futures via Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). For thousands of Nigerians, PIN’s work makes the difference between mediocrity and significance, between poverty and sufficiency, between destitution and hope. PIN’s objective is to change the future of Nigeria, one person at a time.

Since its days as an online network in 2001, PIN has successfully executed several projects, details of which can be found at www.pin.org.ng/old/index.php. More recently, PIN began a revolutionary project called Ajegunle.org (see www.ajegunle.org), a relay training programme in which young people from Ajegunle (yes, Ajegunle!) are empowered with ICT and entrepreneurial skills that will enable them break the cycle of poverty in which they’re enmeshed. Ajegunle.org has received tremendous media coverage and has been presented in various fora across the world (Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt, United Kingdom and Switzerland) as a case study on how ICTs can be used to aid development in under-served communities. For more insight into the success story of Ajegunle.org, please visit http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-14359 to watch a brief descriptive documentary courtesy of Nigeria International.

You can support the awesome work PIN is doing by making a financial contribution via debit or credit card at www.pin.org.ng. With the click of a button, you can begin to change Nigeria one life at a time. You can also make donations by cheque, if that’s a more convenient means for you. Please make all cheques payable to Paradigm Initiative Nigeria, and send to any one of the addresses below:

Attn: ‘Gbenga Sesan
Paradigm Initiative Nigeria
18 Akinbola Street
Ilupeju 100252
Lagos,
Nigeria.

Friends of PIN UK
c/o Temilade Agbaje
Institute for Science and Society
Law and Social Sciences Building
University of Nottingham NG7 2RD
United Kingdom.

If you prefer to pay by cash, please send an email stating your intention to laxta1@nottingham.ac.uk, and payment details will be sent to you.

As a Friend of PIN, I have witnessed first-hand lives being transformed for good through initiatives like Ajegunle.org. Working as a volunteer with the first set of Ajegunle youth in August 2007, I had the opportunity to catch a glimpse into the hopes and dreams of those young Nigerians. Speaking with them, I discovered they all had lofty ambitions buried deep within them; ambitions their circumstances had erstwhile forbidden them to pursue. The coming of Ajegunle.org re-ignited their buried dreams, causing them to dare to hope again, to believe that they can be whatever they want to be. A certain young man on the programme told me that he saw in me what he’s always wanted to be, and to this day I have the honour of being a mentor to him.

The Ajegunle.org experience made me realise that change in Nigeria against all odds is indeed possible. It made me realise that change in Nigeria against all odds depends on me. Can you be part of this change? Yes, you can. Will you be?

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