Blessing Akpan

Uyo, Nigeria

Blessing  Akpan

Today, Blessing is an English Education student at the University of Uyo, Nigeria. Growing up in a low-income background, she came face-to-face with the problems of economic inequality at an early age. During her 10 years in pre-primary and primary school, Blessing had no money for textbooks, but she also realised there were many children in her community whose economic situation was causing similar difficulties. This reality inspired her decision to become a teacher and bring hope to every child no matter what their situation. 

Since then, Blessing has made a huge contribution to the educational prospects of people in her area. Two years into her university degree, she founded a company called Bees Learning Hub which provides home tutoring, remote learning services and skills development through a play program for children who are entering adolescence. During the pandemic, she collaborated with Qatar Foundation Learners from India, Pakistan, and Canada to host virtual classes for 30 children who were forced to stay away from school. Blessing was also one of five Emerging Leaders jointly awarded a grant of 1.1 million Naira by Selfless4Africa and Global Shapers Abuja Hub to raise an educational structure for the Edonwink community in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. This community has existed for 100 years without any formal education for the children who are born into it.

Additionally, Blessing has been involved in training teachers in her community to adapt to 21st century pedagogies and use technology to aid classroom management. With two other educator friends, she has embarked on a programme to provide training and enable Google Educator certification for 10,000 teachers in Akwa Ibom State. So far, she has trained 100 teachers in the Uyo, Oron, and Uruan Local Government Areas. 

Despite all of her challenges, Blessing’s academic performance has been consistently high throughout her school career, and she was top of her class at graduation. In high school, she received the Dakkada Ambassador Award, a scheme created by the state government with the aim of inspiring young people to be creative and seize every opportunity. In 2019, Blessing was nominated for Woman of the Future, and in 2020, she won the National Association Of Nigerian Students (NANS) Joint Campus Committee’s Prize for Public Service in recognition of her contributions. She was also awarded a 250,000 Naira grant as the winner of the Union Bank Rise Challenge. 

If she wins the Global Student Prize, Blessing will first use half the prize funds to provide educational materials and school renovations for over 100 children in the marginalised community of Nwokpom Opolom in Akwa Ibom State. Second, she would use some of the funds to train high school graduates from low-income communities in entrepreneurship and in-demand digital skills. Third, she would give $1000 each to the other top 9 Global Student Prize finalists to support them in their education and the change they are bringing to their communities.