I first met with Sofia through one of her projects, which she was carrying out at my school. There were lots of workshops that I attended, of course led by Sofia. The workshops always allowed you to express yourself, and your concerns and opinions in a very controlled and relaxed environment. The topics within the workshops were very sensitive for most, but I think the delivery of the workshops were spot on and Sofia gave us all the opportunity to speak about the topics such as racism, equality, current affairs and many more. I personally think young people currently do not have a voice at a national or even regional level, but Sofia allowed our voices to be heard and ensured that in our minds we thought what we were saying is valued by the leaders of our country, which I think is very important. School never gave me the opportunity to speak freely and with complete control, but the workshops created and led by Sofia did. The project has now enabled me to speak freely about my concerns and opinions at a regional level and I think with her support, I could take this nationally. Her support throughout the time I have been with her, has given me much needed confidence and self-belief in my ability to do many things. Her knowledge and experience and ways of engaging with young people is very inspiring.

After a period of time, I met with Sofia again in August 2015, where I spent a whole month, twice a week with Sofia as part of work experience. This was a win-win situation for both of us because Sofia gave me the opportunity to help her with her projects, which enabled young people like me to have a voice.  As I told Sofia that my career path is to be a Journalist, she opened up many doors for myself such as introducing me to a BBC journalist, whom I organised work experience with. I also wrote press releases and enhanced the quality of my skills, knowledge and experience within the industry I wanted to be in, of course all thanks to Sofia. I think she is very passionate and hugely optimistic in everything she carries out and she whole-heartedly believes that young people are the future, thus she spends so much time with them, helping and supporting them by always giving them the platform to be successful. An example is me. I was very restricted in talking to people and never started a conversation but due to Sofia’s sheer commitment and determination in getting me in a position where I can be successful, I am now more proactive and confident in engaging with different kinds of people.

I would like to thank Sofia for always believing in me and giving me much needed confidence and self-belief in myself, she is a huge inspiration to myself and I actually aspire to be like her in the future. To be open-minded, always believing in people, to provide knowledge, to support elders and always giving people the platform to be successful just like her. She is a great role model to the younger generation and I wish her the best of the best in the future.