Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

My Story of Hope

Life can be tough and unfair…

People are broken,
People are going through challenging situations,
People are struggling to feed their families,
People are dropping out of school,
People are hurting from wrong relationships,
People are dying everyday,
People are struggling to keep up with their mortgage payments and the banks are threatening,
People are waking up each day only to realize their pension pot is drying up,
People are tired… really tired,
People are losing hope.

Homeless and hopeless

I’ve been there before. I spent my teenage years in Lagos, Nigeria. Born to a father I lost 11 days after my 13th birthday and a mother with 5 other children, I lived 645KM away from my family.

The good life I knew changed when I lost my father to asthma and diabetes. Everything changed! We lost everything!! The years that followed would become my worst nightmare:

  • Almost dropped out of high school without education support
  • Destitute at 17
  • Slept in the church for months
  • Lived in a slum for 3 years
  • Hungry. Seriously hungry
  • Begged or stole to feed
  • ‘Hunted’ every tree in the neighbourhood for unripe fruits to eat
  • Cooked and ate hand-picked vegetables with salt and no other ingredient
  • Fanned and burned charcoal because kerosene was unaffordable
  • Borrowed uniforms for my final exams in high school because I could not afford one.
  • And at university? Oh dear, where do I start? Results withheld each year because I owed tuition, paid my way through university and stayed hungry half the time, the only child of six to achieve university education

Life was tough for me. Life was hopeless. My teenage years were unbearable. The shame was ludicrous; it just didn’t make sense most times.

I nurtured a dream to go to university abroad. Many scorned me for it. They couldn’t fathom how a lad from the slum could find himself in the UK. So they laughed. Only a few listened and even fewer supported.

Against all odds

I remained resolute in my hope. I refused to give up. And my story changed, against all odds:

  • graduated with First Class honours degree in Computer Science
  • achieved the best result at faculty level
  • received best graduating student award by the British Computer Society
  • have my portrait on the university gallery for outstanding achievements
  • published two books
  • speak at conferences
  • coach young leaders
  • set up initiatives to inspire grassroot change…

Receiving my BCS Award from the Director, School of Computing

Own your story

Today, I’m a living testimony that impossible is nothing and I live to inspire others with my story. I didn’t sit down and curse the world for my plight. Yes, events I couldn’t control happened but I refused to resign to them.

I encourage you today: DON’T GIVE UP. Your story will change if you keep hope alive.

Dead visions can and will be revived. It’s time to own your story.

And here’s my prayer for you; that God restores hope in you to dream again.

29 Replies

  1. Chukwu Chiamaka Goodness

    Thanks for sharing, I’m encouraged though I have been following you from a distance but your life and family has been a blessing to me. God bless you Sir.

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Goodness. Remain a blessing.

  2. Ehiagwina Augustine

    I am most previlage to know a man like you, your story will surely give me the inspiration by God’s grace to run my own race. Thanks for this encouraging story and God bless you as you play a part in my life.

    1. You’re on your way to the top, Augustine. See you there… and soon!

  3. joy

    More Grace to u bro Joseph.

    1. Thank you Sis Joy for reading! God bless you.

  4. Very inspiring.  I am very proud to know you and to know the God that has walked with you through some very trying times.  Your life is a testament to the power of God at work in the lives that are surrendered completely to Him.  Thanks for showing us the beauty of hope!

    1. Thanks Darin. My hope is to write the full story someday, God willing. I’m amazed at God’s grace and mercies everyday! Thanks for sharing in my journey.

  5. Pete Osa

    You sure are a living testimony of God’s mercy & greatness. God  definitely knew you by name even before you were born. A true inspirational story.

    1. God has been awesome! Thanks friend.

  6. Udeh Udo Gideon

    A living testimony

    1. All the glory to The Living God! Thanks Udeh for stopping by and sharing.


    Powerful story, Joseph. I am amazed at your fortitude. Especially in today’s world, where so many are giving up – giving up on their dreams, their marriages and families, their lives – your story is an inspiration that God is still doing amazing and redemptive work. Thank you! God bless.

    1. Dave, God has indeed been gracious to me. It’s all about HIM. Thanks for your awesomeness.

  8. Ademola

    Hi Joseph,you where always a leader in Church,I always saw you from a distance while in church(then we were all teens)..
    I never knew what you were going through..somehow I wish I could rewind time & I could lend a hand..
    This is really touching,Your story gives me encouragement and real hope!!!
    My dream Job is being delayed and am yet to receive my letter of employment from the firm.I still home waiting.. everyday seems like an eternity,the firm just tells me to hold on,they would still get back to me. At a time,I had to visit the Director myself. Just yesterday,I decided to forget about it, its 5:30am CAT over here and am awake to read your Blog(that is a sign that am to hold on & be steadfast)
    Infact I have decided to “FAST” today..thanks for this it was meant for me.
    Thanks a lot Joseph..

    1. Ademola, I appreciate your support and encouragements. And I pray for you today that God will open new doors for you in Jesus name. I’m glad you popped by, God will do something new in your life. It wasn’t by accident that you came here. Don’t give up my friend. Never give up! Something good will happen to you if you refuse to give up. Stay focused.

  9. Ami

    hi joe !!!! I am soo touched 🙂 I had tears in my eyes that Joseph i knw had such a tough life. Man You did it and you also encouraged me not to take life for granted. Can i share this with my freinds as well so that it can help people to stay positiv ein touch times — wel done and god bless you 🙂

    1. Ami, glad to see you here. Please feel free to share and encourage hope in others. Thanks once again my friend.

  10. Teenoble

    Awesome! I thank God for your life and where you are today. Thank you for not loosing hope as your story is about to bless millions of people. God bless you.

    1. My good friend, great to see you here. Thanks for your prayer. Amen.

  11. Terence Njinembo

    Waaoohh Pastor Joseph, it sounds like a typical Nigerian movie story but it’s not; it is a true life story of hope, determination and purpose. It’s often said that those who toil to get something, cherish and nourish it while those who got it on a platter of gold don’t know it’s real value. The only part I missed is the transition from Lagos to London; from prison to the Egyptian elite class.

    1. Pastor Terence, I almost called you a clown reading you talk of Nigerian movie 🙂 It’s all good. If I shared everything on the blog, who would buy the book when it’s out? So watch this space. Thanks man for your awesomeness.

  12. Wow…what a story! Kind of like another Joseph I’ve read about. It’s interesting that you have the same name. Thanks for sharing, Joseph.

    1. I often ask myself whether it’s a coincidence that I’m called Joseph. The discovery of purpose has taught it’s not. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in my journey.

  13. Amazing testimony! May you continue to Be a blessing!

    1. Thanks Trave. Stay blessed too.

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