About Dr Progress
My name is Daniel Stephen, Stay with me and you will find out how I got nicknamed Dr Progress.
My earliest memory from childhood and current dream is been about putting smiles on faces and helping people in any way possible and no matter how small because I care deeply about people.
In Nigeria, at the time I went to school, you were required to either be a science or art student and that ultimately decides your path in future or so we were told. However, growing up I have come to realize that this is false. I went the science route and going this route was inspired by the story of a girl on radio, for whom a fundraising drive was organized to take her to India for a kidney transplant. I was really touched by her story that I vowed that day to make sure both the poor and rich have access to quality and specialized health facility in Nigeria. The path I saw then, to achieving this goal was becoming a medical doctor but that was not to be because after writing JAMB for 5 consecutive years – with an average score of 200 – getting admission, but then the issue of bribing came up several times and I refused to pay, I was on my last attempt en route to a private university to study medicine when I was arrested.
I slept in different police cells for 2 good weeks after which the case was taken to court. I was 17 at the time and could not meet the bail terms of the court hence, was sent to Suleja maximum prison because according to the judge, my thought pattern was that of a matured adult. During this ordeal as a result of caring for people, being welcomed with slaps and different forms of punishment in each cell I was taken to, I had a deep and critical reflection as suggested by senior inmates. In my 5 years of writing JAMB, I had the privilege of working and gaining different skills with different organizations and one thing that stayed constant all through my life until my time in prison, was my passion to see development in Africa.
I had to ask myself critical questions. Some of the questions I had time to reflect upon included asking myself if being a doctor was the best path to ensuring quality health knowing fully well that slitting the throat of a chicken and seeing blood was a problem for me. I had to ask myself, what the best path to bring about development on the continent was. That question gave birth to my passion for education. I came to the conclusion that alone, I can only do so little but with a critical mass of people, more can be done.
Deep down, I believe every human has a God-given potential and is unique. With this potential realised and fully unleashed, there would be good leadership and followership, little or no corruption as greed will no longer be a problem since people will be enjoying life within their purpose and that will spur development to curb the many challenges our continent is plagued by.
I know we are plagued by similar issues across the continent because I have been privileged to live in, grow up and visit countries across the South, East, North and West of our great continent. Knowing fully well, education is the path for me, I started my first business selling e-books, went on to teach people how to use computers and tapping into the internet potential. In 2011, my friend and I founded the street 2 school project giving free education to street kids. During a phase in that project that has today become a fully registered NGO (Society for Child’s Educational Development), I discovered our kids were not doing well in class due to the fact they went to class on an empty stomach. That gave birth to my passion for agriculture. Started with a poultry farm, went on to experiment with hydroponics and aqua-phonics.
I’m so grateful where life has taken me and I have chosen to be intentional daily. In prison, the name Dr Progress was born as a reminder of my passion for Africa. I did not become a medical doctor but became a doctor of minds on a mission to bring smiles to faces from a place of deep love, while solving problems and elevating African values and cultures.
SMILES was born as a platform to help people discover their potential, unleash it to make the world a better place while being grounded on strong values and principles.
Always remember you were born for a reason, a unique purpose and something bigger than yourself. But YOU have to activate this calling; no one is going to turn it on for you! It’s Your Responsibility to build yourself into the person who can live a great life. My story is still being written and I welcome you to journey with me on this mission.