From Pain to Purpose: The Extraordinary Social Entrepreneur Who Defied All Odds

London social entrepreneur Lawrence Tijjani has spent his career helping others. Now, his incredible life story has been turned into an inspiring new documentary which charts his health struggles, battle with epilepsy and the challenge of learning to walk again as an adult. 

A former secondary school IT and Computer Science teacher and lifelong entrepreneur, Tijjani’s inspiring story is the focus of From Pain To Purpose, a feature-length documentary directed by filmmaker, TJ Ajose. The documentary gives viewers an inside take on what it’s really like to live with purpose in the face of difficult challenges. 

Like most success stories, Lawrence’s journey is anything but standard. Understanding first-hand what so many brilliant young minds are experiencing today – feeling passionate about achieving but struggling with traditional constructs of academia – Lawrence himself failed all but one of his GCSEs, passing only his IT qualification. It was this experience that eventually led to him creating Just A Guy. A London-based non-profit, it empowers young people to reach their full potential by acquiring the interpersonal skills required to thrive as adults and boost employability prospects. 

Lawrence was diagnosed with Idiopathic Epilepsy at 17 and speaks of his experiences facing recurrent seizures and hospitalisation while working towards his degree as a young adult. While teaching, a severe seizure – which resulted in physiotherapy and the use of crutches for four months due to a total loss of strength in the knees – convinced Lawrence that he needed to put his health first. Throughout the documentary, Lawrence’s friends and family share their recollections of his extraordinary journey as he remained steadfast in his determination to go on to help others less fortunate.


The Apprentice star Tim Campbell MBE said, “The power of Lawrence’s testimony should not only inspire but also provoke a reality check about our own goals, challenges and excuses, if they exist. For Lawrence’s raw and revealing sharing of his story lifts a lid on what real resilience looks like and what the power of the human mind can achieve when surrounded by love and guided by an internal drive never to accept second best. Watch it. Be inspired. Then get what’s yours!”

“Lawrence’s story is one that will resonate with viewers of all ages and backgrounds,” said the film’s director, TJ Ajose. “We are thrilled to be able to share his story with the world and hope that it will inspire others to overcome their own challenges, achieve their dreams, and, most importantly, help those less fortunate than themselves.”