The inspiring journey of Desire Ude

A story of resilience, activism, and entrepreneurship

Desire Ude is an entrepreneur. The co-founder and managing director of Anchored Care, an organisation that provides employment opportunities and improves the lives of Queenslanders living with disabilities. Desire holds degrees in chemical engineering and information technology. In July 2023 he was named as a finalist in the prestigious 2023 Queensland 40 Under 40 Awards as recognition for his journey of growth, transformation, resilience and courage.

Desire Ude’s journey from Nigeria to Australia is a testament to the power of optimism, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to making a difference. His story is an inspiration to all skilled migrants, reminding us that with passion and determination, we can overcome any obstacle and create a positive impact in our new home.

My leap of faith

In 2011, I left my homeland in Nigeria for Australia. I was at a crossroads in my life, craving change and new challenges. I had great family support, however, I felt there was a danger of feeling too sheltered. I wasn’t happy in my job and was between relationships, so the time seemed right to make the move. 

Life, for me, must be full of adventure. The element of surprise keeps me intrigued, and I find it difficult to stay in one place for too long. I’m very spontaneous, so without much research, I embarked on this big adventure. My choices were between Canada and Australia. Australia worked out to be faster than Canada, so Australia it was! Brisbane, with its appealing name, became my new home.

Navigating the cultural terrain

In Australia’s culturally diverse country, I encountered a culture that was more laid-back and individualistic than I expected. The Aussie expressions and slang were like a new language, and I often felt like I was relearning English. These differences deepened my appreciation of diversity and helped me understand myself more too.

Here’s an example: in my homeland, community and togetherness are ingrained in our culture. A bustling beach or a lively gathering signifies a good time. Here in Australia, people love their personal space and prefer a serene, sparsely populated beach instead. These differences opened my eyes to contrasting values and customs and took a while to adjust to.

Confronting stereotypes and standing up

As a migrant, I’ve faced my fair share of stereotypes and misconceptions. One particular incident brought out my activist spirit. On a night out with some friends, we were barred from entering a nightclub due to our African origins. I stood my ground, demanding fairness and equality. 

It wasn’t just personal; I was fighting against discrimination and racism. The situation escalated; they called the police, so I called the police. As the police arrived, I rallied everyone. I said “Ladies and gentlemen, this is the moment where you bring out your phone and record.  If anything happens to me, this is a racist act.”

A crowd gathered, and people started offering their support. Before I knew it we’d caught the attention of the media. The club was eventually shut down,which I feel was fitting justice. But I refused to let the incident cloud my perspective. I don’t dwell on it because something that one individual or one organisation did doesn’t represent the majority. 

A positive outlook on challenges

As a migrant I feel some people discount you or think you’re not as smart because you probably didn’t have the same opportunities. But every time you discount me I work ten times harder. For me, it’s an invitation for personal improvement and development.

My philosophy is simple: everyone has their good days and bad days. One mistake should not define a person’s character. As a migrant, I am aware of the need to rise above our insecurities and challenge the biases we may hold. I am constantly working on my own biases and striving to understand and embrace the values and interests of Australian culture.

I think of obstacles in terms of mountain and valley moments. When I face obstacles, I draw from a deeper place of positive self-affirmation. When I’m happy it’s a mountain moment and I write to myself and tell myself good things and will use them in my valley moments.

I think the biggest obstacles are those we create ourselves. We need to filter our thought processing and ask why we’re thinking this way. Where’s this insecurity coming from?

A message to fellow migrants

I would advise every migrant to look for opportunities to be part of a country, not just a consumer. Everyone has something to give. Look for what you have to give and what’s unique about yourself. It will help you when you’re in that place of self-doubt and talking yourself out of it. 

In Australia, my life’s focus has always been on people, community, and human service. I have learned that surrounding myself with a purpose larger than myself reinvigorates my energy and commitment.

I often reflect on the legacy I am building, thinking of my great-grandchildren and what they will say about me. As migrants, we have the opportunity to invest in our new homes, just as those who came before us built the bridges and houses that welcome us today. It is our prime time, and it is up to us to make the most of it.

I am so grateful for the opportunities this beautiful country has presented me. So I am investing in it and getting a return on that investment.

A journey of resilience

My path to entrepreneurship has not been straightforward. I have faced trauma, adversity, and setbacks along the way. However, every challenge has only fueled my determination to succeed. A pivotal moment came when I lost my job and decided to start my own business. Despite the initial uncertainty, I put my trust in the process – and all my eggs in one basket – and put myself out there.

Anchored Care, the organisation I co-founded, aims to elevate the standard of disability care by fostering personal growth and empowerment for all participants. We believe that empowerment is not limited to a select few but is a force that can transform communities and create positive change in the world.

Final words of advice

To those seeking success in Australia, I offer this advice: just do it. This is a country that embraces diversity and welcomes those who come to contribute. Have a positive mindset and come prepared to offer something unique. Australia loves people who contribute, and it is a land of endless opportunities.

Come here, learn, and immerse yourself in society. Find ways to integrate while bringing your own distinctive qualities to the table. Embrace the challenges and rise above your insecurities. In the end, it is our actions and contributions that will define our legacy.


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