“I owe all of my achievements to the Hungary Helps Scholarship Programme”, Nigerian Christian young man to S4C News
Samuel Akinola came to Hungary in 2017 in the Hungary Helps' Scholarship Programme framework for Christian Young People. He will graduate this year from the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pécs and is very grateful to Hungary Helps Programme. He said he owes this programme everything that he so far achieved.
Samuel grew up in a Christian family of seven in southwestern Nigeria. He was one of the first scholarship holders who came to Hungary in the framework of this programme. Now, that he is completing his last semester at the university, he is planning to stay and work sometime in Hungary, to return the help that he had from the country.
How did you decide to participate in the programme?
In 2017, I was one of the first scholarship holders, thus I could not rely on the experience of others. When I first heard of this opportunity, I searched for the Hungarian educational system on the internet. I found the University of Pécs, which seemed really good, so I decided to go there. Furthermore, I also wanted to get to know the world, get to know Europe, which I had the opportunity to do, thanks to this scholarship programme.
What do you study at university?
At the university, I study to be a nurse. Earlier, in Nigeria, I studied microbiology. I decided to study health care because I want to help other people with my work. Next to university, I dedicate much time to playing music. With my music, I also want to help people. When I arrived at Pécs, I felt that people tended to be stressful and view the world negatively. With my music, I intended to speak to their souls and invite them to positive thinking.
When did you start singing?
I was very young. I was 5-6 years old and sang in our church. My father was the organist, so I could sing with him.
You said you owe the scholarship programme all that you achieved by now. What exactly?
Besides studying at a great Hungarian university, I also had the possibility to travel to Canada some years ago. In connection with my studies, a Canadian professor connected me on my LinkedIn profile and invited me to join a drug safety project.
In the framework of the project, I have written and published articles about drug safety, along with Canadian and Brazilian professors. After coming back to Hungary, this cooperation has continued. If I had not gotten the scholarship, I would have never gone to Canada nor met these people.
After my first year at university, I got the Rector’s Diploma of Merit for my musical achievements, and I was also recognised by the Maltese charity.
This is your last year at university. What are your plans for the future?
At the moment, I am open to opportunities. After graduating in July, I will have to stay in Hungary to get my nursing licence. After getting this licence I still want to spend some time in Hungary, and work as a nurse, to return with my work the help that I got from the country. I especially would like to help the most vulnerable, the poorest. As in my music, in my work, it is also important to me to help people.
Unfortunately, there is much sad news about Christian persecution in Nigeria. You, personally, how do you see this situation?
Christians in Nigeria are in a difficult situation; they are suffering serious persecution from the Boko Haram terror group, which is mainly present in northern Nigeria. This group persecutes Christians in an organised manner. They invade the Christian churches, kill the people or destroy the buildings.
Christians have to face these attacks every day. I have recently seen a photo taken after a Boko Haram attack, which was really shocking. These people massacre Christians, but also non-Christians. They attack schools, kidnap students and take them to the forest. There, they usually rape or kill them. For this reason, the help of the Hungary Helps Programme and other organisations is fundamental.
In your opinion, what do Christians in Nigeria need? How could the western countries help these people?
Firstly, it would be great to help the persecuted people escape and bring them to surrounding countries, where they could live in peace. Secondly, I have heard that many of these communities get financial aid from western countries. This is also a great initiative, but, unfortunately, this money usually does not reach the people the most in need, the persecuted ones.
I also read that Hungary helps the persecuted Christians by providing drinking water and food to as many people as possible. They also support financially the maintaining of hospitals, to provide the best health care possible to poor people. In my opinion, it is a great initiative. I think these are the measures that western countries can do to help persecuted Christians in Nigeria.