February 19, 2023

Jennifer Hilejime: Orphan who graduated with First Class in Benue

Jennifer Hilejime: Orphan who graduated with First Class in Benue

Jennifer Hilejime

Since last weekend, the internet has been awashe with the trending story of a Benue born genius orphan who had just a gown, a pair of shoes, and usually picked pieces of soup in public bathrooms to have bath, but persevered to graduate with a first class degree in Economics.

The young woman who conquered poverty and shame to achieve a feat that many of her contemporaries living in opulence could not achieve was also living in the most dehumanizing environment while trying to make her late parents proud. 

Jennifer Hilejime who is now trending for graduating with a first class degree in Economics at the Benue State University (BSU) is actually an orphan who despite her condition was determined against all odds to set her family free from the bondage of poverty.

Speaking on her she got to the point she is now, she said, “I lost my dad and mum while in JSS 3. Relatives suggested we move to the village at a point. But rather, my immediate elder brother (late) decided to go and do farm work to ensure I further my education since he considered me the intelligent one.”

She also revealed that, her secondary school registered her for the Senior School Certificate Examination, SSCE, where she came out with one of the best results (6A and 3B) that year.

“After secondary school, I went into teaching earning N3000 out of which I saved and obtained my JAMB scoring 232, but ended up at a College of Education since I could not afford University fees. I studied Maths/Economics and graduated with 13 points( one of the highest that year).

“Upon graduation, I went back to teaching and this time chose to see my younger one through school. After she graduated, I picked my direct entry form. By His grace, I gained admission to study Economics at Benue State University, BSU. This was my happiest moment as I was fulfilling the wish of my dying father who said to me ‘no matter what, get me a degree.’

Talking about her travails while trying to fulfill her father’s wish, Jennifer disclosed that, it was not an “easy journey.”

According to her, “At the College I  was that girl with only one black gown and one shoe, picking pieces of soap in the bathroom to have a clean bath.

“At BSU, I became more matured. I could hide my tears under my smiles. I could give help to others even though I too knew I needed the help. I lived in a worst environment but was happy I could have a space to keep my table and read. For each night that it rained, I stayed awake to ensure that I controlled water.

“But still, I can’t belittle my God and hide His grace over my life. Just when I was about dropping out of school,  I got awarded as TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION EXAMPLAR through the office of the first lady (Her Excellency, Eunice Ortom ) and this came with financial benefits.

“I got a scholarship award for being indigent yet outstanding by ASUU national body. I will be wrong if I say I had no one because God raised help from strangers.”

On why she decided to post her emotion laden story on the social media, she said, “I am not ungrateful so I can’t keep this joy to myself but reveal God’s works so it can be a motivation to some one out there.

“A lecturer, (Dr. Joseph Fefa ) shared his story with students  and  that was my first lecture; that gave me hope.  Mine can inspire another, so let the chain continue.”

She disclosed that the secret to her academic success lies in her belief that proper planning prevent poor performance and the grace of God almighty. “The final score (4.80/5) is out and God alone be glorified. Officially, I can say done and dusted.”

This is as she declared that, “I pulled through to the end. I survived the storm, and fulfilled the wish of a dying father. I set a pace for other orphans out there. With determination, we can achieve a goal. Today, I am proudly issued a statement of result proving I graduated.

“This is just a starting point because I see His (God) mighty hand opening all locked doors. I call this my story, my teary story with a glorious end. Be inspired and have faith that with God, everything is possible.”

While congratulating her father of blessed memory, Jennifer also thanked her friends saying, “I have few friends here that have contributed both mentally, psychologically, financially and otherwise to this story. I want to say thank you.”