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Akin’s story of trying to make ends meet after losing his income

Read about how, with our support, Akin was able to get some control back over his life after losing his income, and coming close to losing his home too.

I couldn’t afford to pay my bills or my rent, and I couldn’t sleep because of the worry – I felt so helpless and anxious.

Hi, I’m Akin and I’m an assistant lecturer in electronics engineering at a university in Nigeria.

I’ve always had a keen interest in both engineering and education, which led me to take up a job at the university as Graduate Assistant in 2015.

I thrived whilst working in this stimulating academic environment and quickly rose to the position of Assistant Lecturer in 2017 after completing my Masters degree. I was in this role for five years, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But due to strike action across all the federal universities in Nigeria, the university was closed indefinitely in February 2022.

And because my employer follows a strict ‘no work, no pay’ outlook, I lost all my income overnight.

Surviving without an income

At first, I managed to survive on the little savings I had, but after several months without receiving a salary, things began to get more and more difficult.

I couldn’t afford to pay my bills or my rent, and I couldn’t sleep because of the worry – I felt so helpless and anxious.

Although my landlord was patient at the beginning, it wasn’t long before I was issued with a Notice to Quit, and my anxiety quickly descended into depression.

Faced with losing my home, and with nowhere else to turn, I accepted that it was time to ask for help.

That’s when I came across Foothold, and learned one of the most important lessons of my life.

A weight off my shoulders

A friend of mine had recently reminded me of Foothold’s services, and since I was a member of the IET, I decided to make a leap of faith and reach out to them.

The Foothold team were fantastic. They were able to quickly arrange an emergency grant for me to help cover my rent arrears.

And not only that, they also awarded me an ongoing unemployment support grant to help with my living costs whilst my workplace remained closed.

It was such a huge relief to hear that Foothold would support me. I’d spent so long suspended in a state of fear about my future, but finally I knew that everything was going to be ok.

I’m so grateful to Foothold for easing the strain and bringing me peace of mind – it’s a kindness that I’ll never forget.

Passing on my learning experience

Now, I feel as though a weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I’m able to sleep soundly again.

The university is still closed, but I’m using the time to pursue a Doctorate Degree (PhD) in Electronics and Renewable Engineering, and am enjoying the opportunity to study further to build on my employment prospects.

I still don’t know how long the strike action will go on for, nor exactly what the future holds for my career. But I do know that thanks to Foothold’s support, I no longer have to face this difficult time alone.

To anyone who’s going through a similar situation, please know that there is no shame in asking for help.

It’s far better to accept you need help and reach out sooner – rather than shying away from support due to feelings of guilt and shame.

Learning this myself has meant I’m now able to indulge my passion for learning in the professional world once again, to help me get back on my feet so I can continue to support the education of our next generation.

Life can be hard sometimes, but you mustn’t wait until things get desperate before reaching out.

You never know how your life might change when you do.


If you are in a difficult time in your life and you’re struggling to make ends meet, you may be eligible for a grant to support you until things get better. Get in touch with us to find out more about how we can help.


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