Graduating from high school in 2019, Abraham Jeremiah felt suddenly propelled by certain ideas that had begun to take root in his mind. Believing that the world was his canvas for growing and exploring, he dabbled into many different ventures during his gap year to see whatever impact he could create.
“Right after graduating, I learned graphic design and photography. I also initiated something called ‘Face of the Week’. It was primarily a platform where I gathered young, passionate, enthusiastic entrepreneurs to apply and compete for votes. Those with the highest votes earned the opportunity to have their businesses advertised and promoted across various social media platforms,” he shared.
Yet that was only the tip of the iceberg. Jeremiah visualized more insightful ideas and seemed determined to bring them to fruition. As weeks of thinking bled into months of hard work, Abraham devised a plan for an initiative.
“In 2021, I launched the Future Now Development initiative in Bauchi State. I firmly believe that one of the most valuable offerings for young people, especially in the 21st century, is education, and my initiative was established to provide just that. Recognizing the diverse backgrounds and varying levels of knowledge among young people regarding their careers and the future, this initiative emerged to bridge the gap by uniting youths through education and advocacy,” 21-year-old Jeremiah told Prime Progress
As a budding initiative with only seven staff members, Future Now Development conducts its programs around international days, organizes leadership and entrepreneurship training for young people, and mentors secondary-school students.
“Our objective is to establish a vibrant platform where every young person can reach their full potential. We also strive to enhance entrepreneurial visibility and growth among youths, offering access to basic education, livelihood skills, and numerous other elements that educate and elevate youths in communities,” Jeremiah said with a tone of excitement
Building resilience on every stride
Jeremiah founded his initiative with the conviction that he was providing a solution to a problem by reducing the number of individuals excluded from the educational process and amplifying the voices of disadvantaged youths.
“Through this initiative, we’ve reached out to over 1,500 young people within the state, offering them training on skill development and awareness about societal developments, while also mentoring them on how to pursue anything they deem fit for their career,” he added
Part of the community development efforts of the initiative is championing girls’ rights. According to Jeremiah, this entails preparing the young girls for life by helping them understand the boundless opportunities that exist in broader society and helping them carve their individual paths.
“Aligned with promoting the cause for girls, we executed a hygiene sanitary pad project. We visited several secondary schools and communities to educate them about period poverty and distributed sanitary pads to express our full support for them,” Jeremiah stated.
One contribution, one testimony
David Martin, a staff member of Future Now Development Initiative, began working with Abraham in late 2021.
“My experience has been incredibly rewarding, especially witnessing the impact our work has had on the community and the youths, who have been very receptive to learning and growing. Despite our challenges, together with my team, we overcame these obstacles,” Martin noted.
Martin expressed his enthusiasm for all the projects and program conducted through the initiative. For him, some of the most engaging activities include the STEM program, educating female students on digital literacy, training adolescent girls in making reusable hygienic sanitary pads, and participating in the sixteen days of activism by conducting advocacy for gender-based violence.
“We hold numerous meetings during the planning stages of any program or project, with each team member assigned specific tasks. I envision this initiative expanding not only locally but also internationally. Through our efforts, we aspire to transform the lives of youths and women, providing them with better opportunities in the world, nurturing leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs,” he explained.
Adewusi Miracle discovered the initiative during the 2022 World Girl Child Day commemoration. Her participation in one of the initiative’s events proved transformative.
“Attending the event provided me with invaluable knowledge about YOMA. I learned that I could grow and still earn while networking with a plethora of people. This significantly boosted my confidence in pursuing my career path,” she enthused.
Miracle praised Jeremiah’s zeal, acknowledging the confidence the initiative has reposed in her to blaze a trail without depending on any individual or the government to pave the way for her desired achievements.
Setbacks to wider reach
Now a student of sociology at Bauchi State University, Jeremiah attempts to balance his initiative’s work with his new academic pursuit. He looks keenly forward to graduating so that he can focus more on his initiative.
Meanwhile, access to grants remains an impediment to wider reach. The initiative cannot fund professional training programs for more individuals and regions.
“As a start-up initiative, securing funding has been challenging. Sometimes, for proposed projects, we reach out to family, friends, and acquaintances for support. We’ve had up to 7 people contributing to the success of some projects,” he reiterated.
Nevertheless, Jeremiah highlighted that his outfit had procured sub-grants from such organizations as the Young Leaders Network, which has helped back some specific projects of interest.
Pending when Abraham completes his studies and when his initiative gets sustainable funding, persistence and hard work remain his most reliable means to educate more youths and execute more projects for the girl child, as he hopes to in the near future