Turning Dreams into Reality: Muhammad Kabir’s Inspiring Journey from an Office Assistant to a Graduate.

By Isibhakhomen Yetunde Ikhimiukor, Dayyabu Yusuf

Muhammad Kabir was born to a family of 15 and raised in Kano state. His journey began in 2012 when he joined the Kano branch of Society for Family Health (SFH) as an Office Assistant (cleaner). At the young age of 20, fresh out of secondary school, he took on the role through the help of Musa Ali, a Motor Vehicle Operator in SFH. He aspired to become a manager, a dream that would drive his ambition in the years to come.

He enrolled as a commercial student during his secondary school years to pursue his dreams of higher education and a future career. While studying, he continued to work with SFH to financially support his education and also gain invaluable insights and experience.

“Mr. Dayyabu Yusuf was the Territorial Manager when I joined SFH and he was the one who secured the admission. He introduced me to Dr Jennifer Anyanti (Deputy Managing Director) and all the directors in the organisations. He encouraged me to voluntarily participate in various programmes of SFH projects.

With a daily wage of N750, Muhammad Kabir faced challenges, from covering his basic needs to transportation and academic responsibilities. The road was far from easy. Juggling work and school, he often found himself arriving late to classes due to his office cleaning duties, which were shared by another staff.

I frequently go to school late because I have to finish my primary assignment first. The office is big and it was only two of us that cleaned it.”

However, Muhammad received kindness and understanding from those he met along the way. He found solace in the compassion of a lecturer who welcomed him into class despite his habitual lateness. The trials of daily life were overcome by his determination to succeed. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, causing the world to shut down, it seemed as though Muhammad’s dreams were thwarted. He wasn’t also spared from the pain of the constant ASUU strikes forcing students to stay at home. Due to these circumstances, Muhammad, who expected to graduate and observe the mandatory Youth Service at the age of 29 could not. He had the option to feign a younger age, but he chose to accept his exemption gracefully. 

As a result of his resilience, Muhammad graduated from Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano with a B.Sc. in Business Administration and Management, He also obtained a National Diploma in Business Administration and Management from the Kano State Polytechnic and a Professional Diploma in Data Processing while working with SFH. During his 11-year tenure as an Office Assistant, Muhammad Kabir gained a wealth of experience. His journey involved an understanding of the working culture and discipline of NGOs. He supported finance and administration officers in various capacities, acquiring skills in documentation, petty cash management, assets verification, and more. He worked on multiple projects within SFH, making him proficient with MS Word and Excel software.

I worked as a contract tracer with TB SHOPs Plus. I also worked as an Enumerator with the ICHSSA 3 Project. All these are projects in SFH. There was also a time I helped Dr Anthony Nwala (Assistant Chief Programme Officer) in retrieving data in Kano and Katsina during the WHP close-out. I have seen how programme officers and managers handle their project activities. To cap it all, I have gained NGO experience.”

Muhammad envisions a future filled with opportunities. Administrative roles, marketing, and supply chain management are fields he hopes to explore within his chosen profession. Having worked with Society for Family Health, an organisation that values the growth and success of its employees, Muhammad had a platform to showcase his adaptability and versatility. Despite his contract coming to an end, the organisation ensured that he continued to work with the subcontractor to enable him to complete his programme. This reaffirms the organisation’s commitment to nurturing talent.

“Dr Jennifer Anyanti made sure that the subcontractor took me along so that I could finish my programme. Without her support and assistance, I might not be where I am today.”

Muhammad Kabir’s remarkable journey serves as an inspiration to us all. His story is a reminder that with determination and perseverance, we can overcome hardship and make a positive impact on the world.

“Do not give up your dreams, for everything is possible when you pray, work hard, be patient and believe in yourself.”