, a final year medical student, founder of the Trihealthon and receipent of several awards for community service.
INTERVIEWER: Tell me about yourself?
AJARI ESTHER: My name is Esther Ejiroghene Ajari. I am 22 years old. I come from a small community called Ogara in Delta state. I am the 10th child of a polygamous family. Well I didn’t really like medicine but activities of life brought me here.
INTERVIEWER: Can you tell me about the recent recognitions you have received?
AJARI ESTHER: Basically, I received news I was being considered as the; Top 50 finalist for the global student prize and the international community media houses has dubbed it as the Nobel prize for students and I am also a Top 5 finalist for the .org impact award, Top 50 finalist for the azichia price, Finalist for the One Young world summit, Winner of the King Hamad Youth empowerment award, Dalima fellowship Award, the student network organization grant HIV Research for prevention conference scholarship and some other conference scholarship.
INTERVIEWER: How do you do it?
AJARI ESTHER: I was a stubborn student in secondary school and whenever they wanted to punish us we were asked to go and do community service, but I found out it was very enjoyable, I liked it and I started exploring what I could do more, then I started reaching out to organization, about what I can do and offering to help the do it and I started at a very young age, things like cleaning the community, minor things. The first time I got a major volunteering position with an international organization was when I was 16 and from then till now I have volunteered with 25 different organization. Learning from all these different organizations, I knew there was something I could change, improve and do more. So I thought the best way to fully impact maybe starting my own organization. At first I was scared considering a lot of factors, but going to the Dream Big conference in Uganda in 2018, the key note speaker was very amazing and was pushing us to achieve things, so I was like when I got back to my country I was going to start, so I started with people mostly in my class. We grew from not having enough, then over time the people we impacted were talking about us and started recommending us, we then started getting recognition first at community level, then nationwide and now international.
INTERVIEWER: How do you manage to combine all this with school?
AJARI ESTHER: I feel like I have always been a smart person, I easily understand the things I read, I read very fast too so I have had time to plan my life, fufilling the requirements for classes and the remaining time I use for studying and my development work. I don’t consider my development work as a job because it is like a very fun hobby so it doesn’t come as stress
INTERVIEWER: What other extra curricular activities do you do?
AJARI ESTHER: I do a lot of research. I published a lot during the pandemics. I do some advocacy work too. I like movies and I also love to write.
INTERVIEWER: Do you plan on practising medicine in future?
AJARI ESTHER: I don’t plan on practicing medicine. I want to get my PHD in public health and be into the work I do and I will rate medicine as a second thing in my life, but it is really good I am studying medicine because it brings a lot of credibility to the work I do.
INTERVIEWER: Being the founder of Trihealthon, What are the things you have encountered?
AJARI ESTHER: It was not easy starting working with people who weren’t as passionate as I was initially. As a leader I have learnt that the people that you don’t expect much from are the ones that show up, and help you when you are feeling down. Over the years the organization has faced a lot of challenges but now we are in a place where we don’t depend on just a particular persons, we have teams all over the country, making things easy and I have tried to make it such a way that the trihealthon is not about me but about everyone in the team.
INTERVIEWER: What does the name Trihealthon mean?
AJARI ESTHER: Three initiatives, sexual and reproductive health development initiative, End childhood malnutrition initiative and Global research initiatives, the help to promote the SDG3 initiative – Good health and wellbeing
INTERVIEWER: In the next 5 years where do you see yourself?
AJARI ESTHER: I think I will be the United Nations or African union secretary general envoy on youth, I have always loved the position. It doesn’t pay a lot but you would get to do a lot of work, like the work I do with trihealthon.
INTERVIEWER: One question on my mind now is what inspires you?
AJARI ESTHER: I have several things that inspire me, but the main one is that I had a friend that died due to lack of access to health care when he was 8 years old. He was like my best friend, so losing him made me very sad, anxious and depressed. But I realize that when he was alive he was always telling me I was great and that he believed in me. So I feel if he were to be watching me now would he be happy to see what I am doing. I always ask myself, am I living this life for just me or am I trying to make sure people don’t leave their loved ones like he did. Basically I think that’s the greatest thing that inspires me. My family background also inspires me a lot too.
INTERVIEWER: So, who can you call a mentor or someone you follow after?
AJARI ESTHER: I don’t have a particular mentor but I see a lot of people I admire.
INTERVIEWER: For medical students that would like to tow your line, what do you have to say?
AJARI ESTHER: I feel like you should not tow the line because of the awards, you should tow it if it is something you are interested and passionate about. I feel like most medical student are passionate about giving back, passionate about the SDG 3 but maybe they don’t know it yet, they may need to discover first. Second, they should forget that they are too young, all those age issues don’t really matter. Also, always surround yourself with people you can trust and who truly have the passion for work. And be aware that there are going to be times where they fail, cry, be sad and want to end whatever they started doing but they should keep pushing because the great men of today failed a lot of times.
INTERVIEWER: Tell us something funny and weird about yourself
AJARI ESTHER: I talk to myself a lot
INTERVIEWER: Thank you so much for your time.
AJARI ESTHER: You are welcome.