To our wonderful 500 Reason's Community.
It gives me great pleasure to announce our recipient this week. It is a true journey of someone working so hard to make the most of their opportunities. A person that even against the greatest hardships has worked so hard to gain a place at Cambridge university. We are not only going to help him with some basic costs of living, but also let him know that 500 of us are rooting for him to achieve all that he can, the world is his for the taking. We are all proud of you Ali, and cannot wait to see the brilliant things you will do. Our lovely member Becky nominated him, her is her nomination and Ali's story thus far. Much love The Admin Team Dear 500 gang, Hello! I'm Becky Dell, the Musical Director of Citizens of the World Choir (a choir for refugees and allies) and I'd like to nominate Ali , who is an Afghan refugee, and off to actual Cambridge University for his first year in a couple of weeks!! He is a stunning success story. Ali was also one of the founding members of COTW Choir back in 2017. He is currently staying with me as he is leaving foster care and I asked him if it was ok for me to nominate him for this, to which he said yes! I asked if he could write me a few facts on which I could build to write his submission. This is what he wrote: His story is below. Thanks as ever for the work that you do! Becky xx ------ I came to the UK as an unaccompanied child asylum seeker in September 2016. I was 14 years old, alone, and spoke almost no English.My journey to safety was long and ferociously demanding, yet the resilience this cultivated in me is a source of great pride and strength.Before coming to the UK, I had also never had the opportunity to go to school or receive any formal education. Now, I have received a place at Cambridge University to study Human Social and Political Sciences, starting in October 2021. I believe that pursuing education at Cambridge will enable me to be an example to others, and for the next generation. I am determined to use my experiences in a positive way to better the world. In September 2018, after social services arranged foster placement, I had the opportunity to attend school for the first time. With just one year of schooling, I completed GCSE Maths and English. Driven to accelerate my learning and education further, I transferred to Bishop Douglass to start year 12 in September 2019, and begin studying for A Level History, Maths and Politics. In October 2020, I was awarded a scholarship to attend Berkhamsted Sixth to finish my A-Levels. Throughout the pandemic, I worked extremely hard at my studies, and achieved top grades (A* A* A), meaning I could pursue my dream of studying at Cambridge. I have been in foster care, and am now a care leaver and will be living independently while studying. I am now facing upcoming costs of starting at Cambridge that are not covered by the maintenance loan from student finance and which I cannot currently afford. This includes the cost associated with my new accommodation, such as providing my own bedding, pots and pans, glasses, cups, cutlery etc. While I was previously able to wear my school uniform which was provided by my school, I now need to purchase appropriate clothing for everyday wear, as well as specific academic dress codes that are required by the college (academic gown, suits, formal shoes, etc). Your support would be an immense help and so gratefully received. This would help me to focus on my studies and work as hard as I can to achieve my academic potential.