TUNDE OKEWALE, a London-based lawyer, collected his MBE from Buckingham palace today (Nov 18).
The Nigerian-born 32-year-old who started his working life doing part-time shifts in a supermarket, was presented with the honour for his services to the community and disadvantaged young people.
“Things don’t happen quickly, but they do happen suddenly,” Tunde tweeted after the ceremony.
Tunde, who came to England when he was just one, has had to overcome major barriers to get to this point.
As well as being a well-respected barrister, working at the prestigious Doughty Street Chambers, Tunde also works with the Boyhood to Manhood Foundation, which supports excluded children.
He has also been involved in a number of human rights initiatives including a UN programme.
Additionally, he set up his own social enterprise, Urban Lawyers, an initiative with a strong social media reach.
“The organisation provides inspiration and education through workshops, House of Lords events and online support for students from backgrounds similar to mine who need legal advice or want to get into the profession,” he explained.
Urban Lawyers has also partnered with law schools and firms to offer scholarships and training contracts.
Crediting his mother for his perseverance, he said: “There were times when I felt like giving up, but my mom wouldn’t let me.
“The secret of my success is hard work, sheer determination and the fact that I have really supportive friends and family who truly believe I can do it” he said.