It all began with Amina.

Amina was a 19-year-old girl who was working as my house help. One day, I went home for lunch and found she wasn’t at home. I enquired where she was and was told she had gone to take an entrance exam. This turned out to be the national entrance exam for entry to Nigerian Universities, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board exam.

When she came back, Amina told me her story. Although she had been a very bright student (graduating from high school with distinction), Amina could not afford to carry on studying after finishing high school and, under pressure from her parents to get married, had run away from her small village to look for work in the city of Lagos.

The next morning, I decided I was going to make it possible for Amina to go to university and to sponsor her education.

I then decided to take things a step further and set an NGO to help other girls from Northern Nigeria who like Amina wanted to study but were unable to. Thus Benefiting Education of Girls in Nigeria (BEGIN) was born.

As recalled by BEGIN founder Hussain Kasim.