I came to the realisation that there is no bigger blessing than being surrounded by people who build and contribute to your journey. I - as an individual and as a student - would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for David’s support.
I went through a tough time before OPITO’s funding, which came via David. As a part time student, most of my time was dedicated to working night shifts, juggling parental duties and worrying about how I was going to meet all academic and financial requirements. It took me a good six months sleeping 4 hours a night before receiving the full-time studentship.
The day I got assistance from David was the day where my dreams found oxygen, for it was at this moment that I was able to define what I wanted in my academic life, how I was going to balance my social life and academic life and ultimately, what I wanted to see myself achieve.
Fast-forward 2 years and I am now at the end of my second year of my research. It was David who helped me to unleash my full potential and achieve this. At 42 years old, I can now say " I am so happy, I am so fulfilled”, and I thank David for never giving up on me. The horizons are widening, and here I come, full of life, confidence and ready to finish this Ph.D. Ladies and Gentlemen, if any one of you out there ever doubted yourselves, then take it from this "once upon a time... Low self-esteemed man from a small country in Africa," who once thought his dreams had no value.
Finally, I just want to say to David, "thank you." You inspired me to be great, and without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I will always celebrate you as one of the greatest men in my life. You were driven by purpose, willing to sacrifice beyond in order to develop others and impact the lives of the less fortunate. You carved your name on hearts, not tombstones. Your legacy is engraved into the minds of others and the stories they share about you. This platform of generosity you have started is not only positively enabling students such as myself to be part of leading research, but has immense potential to positively impact policy and practice realities that affect the lives of millions of people worldwide.
Many thanks for all the support.
PhD Student, Open University