He had a good life back in his home country of Nigeria, working as a sales executive with a multinational company.
His family of five was comfortable, by any standards.
But Afeez Ajibowu wanted his daughters to have opportunities he says they might not have had in Nigeria.
“It’s human nature. You want your kids to thrive after you’re gone. If they want to become a lawyer, you want them to have the opportunity to become a lawyer,” says Afeez, who now works in project management for an area school board. And so, striving to find balance between his personal career ambitions and the life he wanted for his family, Afeez applied to Canada as a skilled immigrant. The family arrived in 2013.
It wasn’t easy for Afeez, who’s lack of “Canadian experience” disqualified him for many jobs, despite his Master’s of Science degree from the UK, brilliant career history and experience on the board of directors of various corporations.
He went to London’s WIL employment and enrolled at Fanshawe College for the postgraduate in project management, which led to new opportunities and eventually to a position with an area school board.
Something else he’s been doing since he arrived in London is volunteering.
He sits on the board of the London Family Court Clinic, is a member of the London and Middlesex Local Immigration partnership and a Community Diversity and Inclusion Strategies Champion for the City of London.
“It’s important to find a way to give back to Canada,” he says. “I give back by volunteering my time and skills to causes I believe in – economic development, protecting vulnerable people, inclusion and mental health.”
To Afeez, community engagement is vital to making cities and countries stronger for generations to come.
“People made sacrifices for us to have the beautiful country we have, the support systems we have here. They made life better for the people who came after them. That has to continue. We have to contribute so that people coming behind will say, this place is a lot better than it was.”