By Olatomiwa Olusesi, Community Manager for Subsaharan Africa

In a world that seems to celebrate self-centeredness and the pursuit of individual gain above all else, the call to live a life that serves the greater good can feel like a whisper lost in a world where many embody hyperindividualism. However, it is a profound yearning that tugs at the hearts of many, compelling them to seek purpose beyond personal gratification. Over the years, this call has emerged for me as a gentle prompt from within and, in some cases, a resounding cry from the world around me, making me realize that the more I yield to it, the more I am drawn not just to create changes in my community, but also to inspire other young people like myself in doing same.

Growing up in Nigeria, I remember hearing about the public school in my community, with its library bereft of books, leaving the promise of knowledge unfulfilled for many young people. I remember looking upon the faces of children who were supposed to be in school yet were left to wander aimlessly in neglect. Everywhere I turned, there were so many things to remind me how imperfect the systems around me were. I remember saying to myself, “Why is no one doing anything about all of these?” I remember having conversations with some of these students, hearing stories oof dreams deferred and untapped potential yearning to be unleashed.

Rather than succumbing to the indifference I saw around me, I found solace in the growing realization that even the smallest acts of kindness and selflessness could ignite incredible transformations. Coincidentally, this was the first time I heard about Peace First and applied for the mini-grant that young people who wanted to create change in their communities could get. I collaborated with like-minded people who saw the problems I saw; we organized book drives and community fundraisers, and the transformation that ensued was nothing short of extraordinary.

My quest for creating a better world did not stop there. As this call got louder, I realized that to create the world of our deepest longing and desires, inspiring other young people was an integral part of the journey. Thus, when the opportunity to become a country ambassador in Nigeria came up, I applied and was selected. Going into the role, I had just one aim: to ignite the same spark that I felt within others and nurture a generation of compassionate and empathetic leaders ready to take on the challenges their communities face. While I have transitioned into a Fellow at Peace First, this goal has remained constant. Every day, I relish the opportunity to support young people to provide innovative solutions to their community’s most pressing issues.

As I reflect on the events that have brought me to this point, I see a series of interconnected moments perfectly strung together. Each step, from recognizing the needs in my community to embracing the call to serve, has shaped me into the advocate for change I am today. With a passion for empowering youth and creating positive impacts, I look forward to a future where more young people join this journey of transformation, making our world a better place for all, and Peace First is rightly positioned to make this happen!