Torchbearer: Fadila A Ahmad. Nigerian. Accra, Ghana
Fadila is a woman that takes her destiny in her own hands. She has made many bold choices towards designing her own life and happiness. You can’t help but wish for an ounce of her tenacity.
“How can I be able to uplift people out of poverty? That’s in everything that I do and will continue to do. How can I be able to uplift people into abundance? How can I be able to not just uplift them out of poverty, but also put them in a situation and empower them to become people who will serve their community – people who will serve in whatever capacity it is.
My life mission is not to just be a symbol of hope, but to be a person who empowers people to realize they can do better, not only for themselves but for their communities.”
Stronger Than Fear
This was a very interesting but kinda tough moment of my life. I left home (Nigeria) when I was 16 and went to Ghana to study. I did this without my father’s knowledge, who is a very instrumental person in my family. I found out about this university in Ghana - I applied for it. Went to Ghana to do the interview and went back home.
When I got admitted I told my mother, “if you tell my dad that I'm going, you're not going to see me ever again.”
Before that actually happened, I had gotten different opportunities to study overseas in the UK, Toronto and South Africa. I understand him now – I was very young and he didn't want me to go there all by myself. So my father did not support my pursuit of education overseas.
I'm very thankful to my mom for believing in me and supporting me to go to school. But I knew she didn't have the financial capacity to see me through school. So when I came to university, I knew that I didn’t just have a personal responsibility –
I had a responsibility to my mother, to my siblings and other people in my family that supported me and trusted me to go to Ghana by myself at 16.
Stronger Than Finances
Along with the support that I was getting from my mom, I was searching for ways to have the money to complete school. It's very difficult for you to be a student, particularly in West Africa, and have a job at the same time. It's not like the way it is in Europe or in the US, where it’s a very easy phenomenon.
Coming to that realization – that I may drop out of school because we may not have the money, I knew I had to do something -
While I was searching for ways to pay for school, I was focused on looking for opportunities that can make me a person of value whether I graduated or not. I was looking for the skills and experiences that would give me an edge over other people who graduated from the same class.
I eventually graduated. I made up with my dad my third year of college but it was a very tough moment. It was one of those experiences that made me grow up really early – to take personal responsibility towards the life that I wanted to create for myself. I learned to not wait for anyone to approve of what I wanted to do for me.
Stronger Than The Unknown
I got employed in Ghana and at a company that was literally restarting. I remember during that period I kept asking myself questions like –
Is this what you want to be known for?
How does this align with the person you want to be?
How will this role continue to influence the lifestyle that you want?
Do you see yourself really achieving your full potential in this position and in this company?
There were so many different factors that made me realize that the job was not working for me. It took some days for me to write the (resignation) letter. I reviewed it so many times and then one day I'm like, ‘you know what? I’m really done.’
At that point in my life, I didn't have any money. I didn't have any savings. I was in a very bad situation, but I still made the decision to quit. I barely had three months of rent-
I wasn't confident – I just had this sense that it was going to work out; even though I didn’t know what was next. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted but I knew what I did NOT want.
I remember after I sent the email, a few hours later I got a very hostile response – “How can you quit after we trained you?” … blah, blah, blah. I never responded – I was grateful that I didn’t. I'm very happy for that experience.
I felt like I had served my purpose in that capacity. I knew it was time for me to move on...
Strong in Service
Over the past three and a half years, I would summarize my career as an entrepreneur and an enabler. I work in three different industries. My main industry is finance. The second one is in the digital space. The third one is in international development.
My company in finance is an agency for foreign currency exchange, as well as payment and trade facilitation for businesses mainly in West African countries. As a founder, I also volunteer my time at different startups to give advice on financial management and literacy for startup businesses.
I also have a digital platform called Africans Living Fully.
We create digital content and live experiences for young Africans. I want to empower and enable them to design their lifestyle in such a way that they have the freedom to do and be whoever it is they want to be.
We mainly focus on sharing information and resources on remote work, travel, lifestyle design and alternative career opportunities. We also share stories of other Africans to inspire our community to live fully and create their dream path. It's redefining what it means to be African and living fully.
A Letter to Fellow Adventurers
Wherever it is that you're coming from. Whatever your background. The past is the past and the future is much brighter than the past.
You have the power within you to create the life that you want – to be able to redefine and evolve in your career journey.
You have the power within you to manifest all that you dream. If you believe in yourself first, act with integrity and continue to strive – doors will open for you like you never imagined before. There will always be another level for you to elevate.
Keep focusing on providing value to yourself first, and then to others. Upgrade your knowledge. Upgrade your network. Become obsessed with being the best version of yourself. There will be no limit to what you can accomplish.
~Fadila A Ahmad
Enjoyed Fadila's journey? Then let us know! Here are other inspiring moments.
Read: "Failure is Not The Reason To Give Up" - I was in the middle of getting my bachelors when we started having family problems — I stopped going to school and looked for another job.