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Upper Laventille resident Leon Sabazan, who became orphaned at a young age, speaks about his struggle to achieve success.

At the age of 13, Leon Sabazan became an orphan. His mother died when he was just three years old and ten years later, his father died, leaving him and his siblings to raise each other at their Block 22, Laventille home alone.

“I wanted to be there with them because we are all we have and I wanted to be amongst my family that I have,” Sabazan said.

But although his siblings bonded together after tragedy, he said they bottled their emotions, which for him resurfaced on days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

“I felt a void inside that I think was irreparable. I would pray for the day to pass quickly so everything could go back to normal,” he said.

The now 29-year-old said the trauma of not having a father to teach him how to ride a bike or his mother teach him how to treat a woman affected him growing up.

“A mother’s love to a son, people speak of it but I don’t know how it is,” he told Guardian Media.

He is now married and recently celebrated his one-year anniversary.

But to pass the time and stay away from bad influences growing up in Laventille, Sabazan spent his time repairing damaged appliances (fans, TVs, radios) around the house.

It was something that not only saved them money but helped create the emotional validation he craved as a teen.

“To get probably some praise, because growing up you never get enough praise as a child to feel wanted….so fixing it, everybody say ‘aye you fix this well done west’,” he said.

This was a hobby that generated his career path as an engineering technician but the journey had many blackouts along the way.

“I breeze through secondary school…nobody told me school was important growing up,” he said.

After acquiring only one CXC pass, Sabazan went back to school and worked. He eventually got five passes and applied to the University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT)

“I would have done evening classes while I was working KFC and then had to teach myself Math and PoB,” he said.

After six years of studying, Sabazan completed his Electrical/Electronics Engineering Technician (EEET) degree.

“I realised that I needed to do something better than this…It was a motivation for me to go back and make something of myself,” he said.

But with a degree in hand, he now faces another struggle, getting a job in his field.

Sabazan said he has applied to several jobs and believes he did not get a call back because of the area he lives in.

“I have not been successful in achieving an interview or anything whatsoever like that, so I’m hoping one day an opportunity will permit itself and I would be able to utilise what I would have learnt at UTT.”

However, he currently works for Food Drop.

Sabazan said he reached out to the Member of Parliament for his area, Fitzgerald Hinds, about his job struggles but never got a response. He also wrote to the Attorney General and asked for assistance but that too was unsuccessful. But he said he has reached too far to give up now and hopes his story motivates someone to keep pushing even in the midst of adversity.

“Because one would say that I had all the possibilities of choosing the wrong path but I defied the odds so I want this story to inspire and encourage others,” he said.