I was born in London, and I spent most of my early life moving in and out of Britain from England to Barbados.

I was in the middle of a custody battle between my parents, and all the moves meant that I didn’t have a normal, average upbringing.

Without going too much into it, there was one incident after I came to England where I ended up in hospital on a life support machine with a tube sticking out of me. That was when I was three years old. I still have the scars from where the doctors cut had to cut into my head.

After the incident, I had lots of medical issues. I am partially blind in my left eye, and back then, I wasn’t able to walk, I wasn’t able to talk, I couldn’t stand up.

Instead of going back to Barbados again, I stayed in England and moved in with my adopted parents, who were able to look after me because they were more financially stable.

My schooling was very different from the average. Because of my physical disabilities, I was kept back. I also suffered from bullying and I remember having things taken from me.

I hated all my maths teachers. They were rude, obnoxious and they didn’t pay much attention to the learning side of school.

They had lots of different abilities in the classroom and when I was in year 9, 10, and 11 they focused more on the higher sets and us little people were left at the bottom.

So I didn’t get a GCSE grade because no one paid that much attention to me when I was in school. It was always higher grades, higher grades, higher grades. We’d almost be stuck in a classroom with a teacher not teaching us because they would be like ‘what’s the point in
teaching you?’

Being a black female in England today is hard. Not only am I black, and a female, I’m disabled, and growing up wasn’t a piece of cake.

Everybody always held me back. When I finished college for the first time after I got my admin qualification, my dad wanted me to work as a cashier, but I didn’t want to.

I had my own plans. I aspired to be a manager of my own business and to be something better than what the system wants. I moved away from home and lived in a hostel for two years.

For the first year, I was getting myself together and learning how to look after myself again after my mental illness, it was almost like learning from scratch and teaching yourself how to do things.

For the second year, I was in the hostel, I was like I need to get off my bum. I decided to get another qualification, and I took myself to college.

One of our tutors said to us that there was this 6-week enterprise course, which was through Babbasa, and I thought, why not?
After I completed the enterprise course, Babbasa got me a mentor, called Amy, who was absolutely amazing.

She helped me with understanding what I want to do and got me onto different programmes that I needed.

Before that, year after year, I was doing different courses, not finding where I wanted to go, but Babbasa gave me a structure to help me understand what I was good at and what I needed to work on.

They set up interviews for me as well, which were really really helpful. I first started with Babbasa, wanting to go into business and that’s gradually changed. I’m now hoping to become a social worker.

The team is really really lovely, and I get great support with what I want to do. Babbasa helped me to get onto a course to finish my maths, and I’ve now finished my GCSE’s and passed in sociology, psychology, and maths.

I don’t know many companies that are like Babbasa. I think the support systems are amazing. I met the Mayor of Bristol. I never thought I’d do that.

I also won a community award with Babbasa and got a chance to go to the Royal Wedding, which was really nice.

I went from very quiet and barely speaking during class, to being able to actually standing in front of people and speaking to a whole room of 100 people.

That’s the confidence that Babbasa gave me. That’s the confidence that I gained from them.

I’ve got a flat to myself, and I’ve got no one telling me to wash up. I love my job. It’s not the easiest of jobs, but this is just a stepping stone for the minute. It’s just to pay my bills.

I’ve been doing an internship as a family council member with the Department of Education. I’ve been shadowing people in the industry and following their daily duties.

I’m still looking to become a social worker, and my experience in education is a big part of why I want to do that. I hope I can educate teachers on well-being, mental health, and knowing that it’s ok to be upset.

I’m hoping to work with the council in changing the current education system in the region. I’ve been sharing my personal feelings and my struggles in school.

I’m a poet as well, so I write and produce my own poetry. I’ve got to perform at some big events in Bristol. I’ve always loved singing/rapping – but I’ve never known how to put my thoughts into words so poetry helps me to share my story.

I’ve recently been part of a homelessness campaign with Bristol City Council to help young people get off the streets of Bristol.

I have written a letter about my experience of being homeless, and it’s now live on the Bristol City Council website and posters are on bus stops in the City centre.

Daniella’s has shared her story across Bristol to help prevent homelessness

 

Its an amazing project and I’m proud to be part of it.

In ten years’ time, I’ll be on a white beach with blue water, sun setting, I’ll be running my own business and I’ll hopefully be married and I’ll maybe have one or two children running around and maybe have my in-laws around.