Kilburn man’s transformation after two years in a Kenyan boarding school

Podiatry graduate Daud Abdirahman from Kilburn who turned his life around (Picture: David Harrison)

Podiatry graduate Daud Abdirahman from Kilburn who turned his life around (Picture: David Harrison) - Credit: Archant

Sent to school in Kenya for hanging out with the wrong crowd, a man has now graduated with a first class degree after being inspired by his father’s radical plan.

Daud Abdirahman, who lives in Carlton Avenue, Kilburn, could be found hanging around street corners with friends and no care for the education he was getting at Wembley High School.

His teenage years were spent in Harlesden where his dreams of playing football professionally were ruined when injury ended his chances with Reading and QPR around the time he was taking his A-levels.

At this time his life started to spiral out of control.

He said: “I wasn’t fussed about studying. I spent my time chilling with mates, we’d stand around streets, go places, some would get into trouble – shoplifting, fighting – I was part of that. I wasn’t really interested in going to university because the majority of my friends were not going - dad wasn’t happy.”

Father-of-seven, Abdi, decided to send his third child to boarding school in Kenya for two years. “I didn’t want to be there, couldn’t see the reason why I should be there.”

But the “humbling” experience transformed his life as he saw children come and peer through the windows of his college in Mombasa desperate for the education he was getting.

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His own classmates were poor with few of the resources he owned but had high aspirations. “Some people didn’t have lunch, or they’d have a piece of fruit. They’d say they wanted to be a lawyer, spend lunch times reading. I was with people who didn’t have what I have and thought if I didn’t make use of this, I’ll be just another loser.” To his own surprise he started waking up and revising without being told and returned to England determined to do something positive with his life.

He enrolled at the University of East London to study podiatry and now works at Croydon Hospital.

In his spare time he has given talks to Brent’s school children at Crest Academy in Neasden, Capital City Academy in Willesden and the College of NW London.

“I come from the UK, all kids have access to education but they get sidetracked. I tell them not to give up. If they want something but it doesn’t work out, try another avenue. I tell them not be too influenced by friends and to think of their own future.”