Tell us about yourself?
I am Alabi Samuel, a French education student at the University of Ibadan. I am a photographer (event and documentary), and the documentary team lead of The FAME Foundation. I play the drums too, I play instruments, a little bit of percussion.
How long have you been volunteering with FAME?
How did you learn about FAME and why did you join the team?
In all honesty, as of then, I was just 17. I did not have a clear idea of what I wanted to do, I just knew I wanted to be a part of a worthy cause. I couldn’t just keep complaining about bad leadership. Even as young as I was, I knew I needed to do something. I just had to be part of an organization committed to solving this problem. I had a sister and a brother who were part of the team then and I also wanted to be a part of what they were doing. I was always inspired by the pictures and stories of the beneficiaries I saw on their WhatsApp statuses. So, I filled the form, and fortunately, I became a part of this family and honestly, it is an honour. I feel so blessed to be a part of this family. I know how much people are struggling to be a part of the team and I remember how rigorous the admission process is. I am really glad that I am part of this family of love, I am glad.
What roles do you play in FAME?
I am a visual storyteller as well as the team lead of the Fame Documentary team.
How did you feel on your first FAME field assignment?
My first field assignment was in 2020. During the Covid lockdown, we were all indoors and during that period a lot of young people were depressed including me. I had friends, other colleagues, photographers that were doing well. Going for shoots when physical events recommenced. And I was just at home looking. So, when I saw the opportunity to start coming out. Shooting documentaries for FAME. I felt alive again.
Do you feel like you have been able to use your influence positively through FAME? Can you give an instance?
Yes, I have been able to use my influence positively through FAME. The organization has given me an opportunity, and a platform to serve. I remember meeting a student at Queens School, Ibadan, Leader Olayinka. She was drawn to my fila (cap). I caught her staring at me several times. I decided to engage her. This moment made me fall in love with storytelling. I wanted to interact with the students, not just take pictures. I wanted to be more human and not just focus on myself. I engaged with her and she started telling me about herself and her family. At that point, FAME made me more human. Photography suddenly had a deeper meaning for me. I have become a better listener. I listened to her story and with the help of God, I was able to give her some advice. Though I haven’t seen her since then, that was last year. I have a conviction that the few words I said to her inspired her. I have had several other encounters like that with students.
How has the FAME culture affected your everyday life?
Fame has taught me to be accountable. You just have to be accountable for how you spent your day, your week, whether you are productive or not, as a member of this team. I am always very conscious at every point when I am outside working or just inside. Whenever I am on my fila(cap), there’s always a possibility I will meet a student that knows me. It won’t be nice if such a student finds me in a place that doesn’t portray me as a responsible person. Also, the fact that I have people looking up to me now as their role model. The culture has helped me to become a better version of myself daily.
We heard you just won the Global Good Awards 2021 and have been crowned Canon Young Champion. Can you tell us a little bit about the award and what it means for you?
The Global Good Awards recognises the achievements of exceptional young people who have shown incredible passion and leadership in their efforts to campaign for positive change and advance sustainable development goals. As a FAME volunteer, what we do is focused on quality education (SDG 4). So I applied for the award.
It means a lot because this is the first award I am receiving as a photographer. I couldn’t have done it without God’s help and FAME. All my stories and experiences are from volunteering with FAME. That’s all I wrote down when I was filling the application form. We know students from this part of the world go through a lot to get a quality education. It is also a call to do more work. Thanks to this award a lot of people now know about the Students of Ibadan page and the challenges an average Ibadan or Nigerian student in a Government school go through to get educated.
Has telling the stories of our beneficiaries changed your life? If yes, how?
This experience has changed my life, I get to interact more with people. It has made me more human. The students I meet daily are wonderful and I just want to interact with them and let them know that they can do better than what they are currently doing. It has made me leave my comfort zone too. It has given me more platforms to speak. My first public speaking opportunity as a photographer was at the FAME TOT (Train the Trainers) this year. It has given me more open doors. It has changed my life in so many ways.
Leader Samuel’s story is an inspiring one, full of a will to change and not wait on others to be that change.
Will to win: one constant thing from his story is the desire to win. He won the award because he put himself in a position to win by telling a story of his good works at FAME. Therefore, for us to win, we must learn how to appreciate the good things we are doing and how to take advantage of them.
Selflessness: he just didn’t want to be seen, he also wanted to get things done. Being the man behind the camera means he would rarely be in the limelight, but for him, it was all worth it.
Putting God First: he enjoined us to also put God first in everything we are doing because without God there is not much we can do by ourselves.
Hard work: his story emphasizes the importance of hard work and perseverance. Without hard work, there is nothing much that can be achieved.
Multi-tasking: joggling school and volunteering isn’t a small fit, but somehow he has been able to marry the two well such that none suffers from lack of attention.
Empathy: he interacts with beneficiaries in such a way that he sees himself in them and thus connects with their stories enough for him to want to share them through the lens of his camera.
FAME is really the place for every youth to be and being a FAME member is a beautiful opportunity to grow and give to others. Well-done Samuel! Be a part of this! Visit our website and see how you can partner with us or join the team today!