The struggle behind the smile

A University of Brighton graduate is launching a charity to help international and ethnic students realise their academic dreams.

Lagos slums where Dr Akinlotan was born and raised

Dr Oladapo Akinlotan was brought up in slums in Nigeria and after years of financial hardship he finally achieved his goal of being awarded a Doctor of Philosophy.

He now wants to share his journey “to inspire overseas students facing financial challenges in the UK and worldwide”.

Dr Akinlotan said: “To achieve this I want to set up a charity to help inspire and motivate people from less privileged backgrounds so they can achieve their dreams, no matter what the challenges.

“I want to visit high schools, colleges and universities in deprived areas across the UK and encourage the younger generation to follow their dreams even in the midst of challenges.”His charity, he said, would provide financial assistance to those “whose dreams are threatened” by lack of funds, and he will be looking to organisations and individuals to back him with donations.

Dr Akinlotan, whose PhD was awarded at the university’s Winter Graduation last month (Feb) for his work on sedimentary geology in South East England, said he hoped also to inspire the next generation of geologists and geoscientists as a lecturer.

He praised the university: “It deserves huge credit for this success story particularly the international office and the School of Environment and Technology for providing financial assistance. By giving me one of the Doctoral College’s four International Research Scholarship slots in that year the university has made world class education accessible to aspiring oversea students like me who desperately need financial support to achieve their goals.

“The scholarship paid 50 per cent of my tuition for three years while the School paid the tuition for the fourth year.”

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