Youth of the Month: From secondary school dropout to MSc holder in UK, how Demola defied odds

 Youth of the Month: From secondary school dropout to MSc holder in UK, how Demola defied odds

The story of Demola Adeleke is nothing short of inspiring. Who would have believed that a young lad who lost his sight at 16 and dropped out of school would go on to achieve great things even beyond the shores of Nigeria, most recently bagging a Master of Arts degree from a British University?.

An inspiration to many, a symbol of hope for those with disabilities, and a challenge for those without, meet CrispNG’s Youth of the Month, Demola Adeleke.



In 1993, somewhere in Oyo, a child was born and a son was given to the Adelekes. His parents perhaps believed that he would be great, as in the ranks of kings and named him Demola “one who came into royalty”.

Like every normal child, he grew up with a fair dose of mischief up his sleeves, brilliance and dreams of what he would become in the future, with his eyes wide open, as far as he could see. However, this narrative was in a haste to make a U-turn.


At seven 7, little Demola started having blurry visions, he struggled to keep up in class. Boy was one day diagnosed with glaucoma, and unfortunately, there was no cure. Doctors said it could be managed, but how well? And for how long?

And so, at sixteen Demola’s sight went bad forcing him to drop out of school. He could no longer see the signs in maths, nor the apparatus in biology, nor carry out measurements in physics, and so, for four years beginning in 2009, he stayed away from the classroom before resuming his education in 2012.



Sunken in depression after the loss of his sight, he said things changed drastically and progressively when he accepted his blind self and determined to be relevant in life regardless.

Back to school, he learnt braille and how to use a typewriter, he absorbed knowledge and eventually went on the study Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he graduated as the 4th best student with a CGPA of 4.44.

Demola dared to leave a mark, he dared to stand out and there was no stopping him. Of course, it did not come on a platter of gold as he was berated by some of his lecturers and looked down on by some students. In his words “they made me feel like I was less of a human.”


Demola speaking at a Common Wealth summit

In 2018, Demola began a movement, Blind Chronicles, a Facebook advocacy group that serves as a platform to challenge stereotypes and champion the cause of equal opportunities for physically challenged individuals. His advocacy became a rallying cry for a more inclusive society.

READ ALSO: Youth of the Month: Michael Showunmi, the teacher championing inclusion for PWDs


Demola with other youth delegates at the restless development office

Ademola’s journey extends far beyond local boundaries, reaching a crescendo in October 2019 when he graced the One Young World Summit in London as a Peace Ambassador.

A distinction bestowed upon him by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ademola was one of only five individuals selected from Nigeria, standing out among over 10,000 global applicants.

November saw Ademola’s journey continue as he was chosen by Restless Developments, a UK charity, as the sole Nigerian delegate to participate in the Wilton Park conference. The event, focusing on ‘Making Tertiary Education Safe to Learn,’ brought together stakeholders from diverse nations, challenging them to deliberate on safeguarding students in tertiary institutions.

Amongst over 4,000 applicants, Ademola’s selection as one of the 11 participants showcased not only his commitment but also underscored the global relevance of his advocacy.



Never ready to settle for less, Demola won the Commonwealth Masters Scholarship in June 2022. He said that at that moment he knew his life was about to change for good.

Enrolled at Liverpool Hope University,  his journey wasn’t strawberries and bananas at the start. He recounts his challenges to CrispNG saying, “In the beginning, it was rough,” reflecting on the daunting task of securing accommodation.

The initial struggle compelled him to seek refuge in Airbnb and hotels, introducing a psychological stress that cast a shadow on his studies.

Adjusting to a new country, a different education system, and an unfamiliar Liverpool accent, locally dubbed “scouse,” added layers of complexity to his academic journey, as he initially faced difficulties understanding his Scouser classmates during discussions.

The academic journey unfolded as a series of challenges, from submitting blog posts on class activities to persevering through sickness and hospitalization.

Adapting to the UK’s education system proved to be a “rude shock” for Demola, given the disparities with the Nigerian system. Yet, his determination and resilience shone through as he navigated assignments, concepts, and the demanding pace of academia.

Demola however, loved the climate and the learning environment. The turning point in his academic saga came with the university’s commitment to inclusivity.

A dedicated notetaker became his ally, accompanying him to classes and ensuring comprehensive notes were delivered to his email daily. This marked a significant stride towards creating an inclusive educational environment.

Despite strides in inclusive education, the institution, he notes, is still grappling with the nuances of accommodating blind students, a testament to the broader need for increased awareness and experience in catering to diverse needs.

Demola also found a supportive ally in his dissertation supervisor. The stereotypical aloofness often associated with lecturers in Nigeria, he said, was non-existent.

READ ALSO: Youth of the Year: Tunde Onakoya, the chess king transforming homeless kids into geniuses


Demola’s journey culminates in a powerful piece of advice for those with disabilities and even for those without.

“Always give your best,” he urges, recognizing the societal barriers that may attempt to impede one’s path. In a world that moves swiftly, he emphasizes the need to persist, whether by crawling or rolling on the floor, highlighting the imperative of self-driven progress.

Related post