the right support
Samia left Centrepoint in 2009. After a difficult start to adulthood, she has two degrees, her own freelance photography business and is working in the Fundraising team with Centrepoint to help other young people like her.
‘Not everyone thinks about going to university. You’re in so much debt and you don’t have money anyway. For me I just thought: if others can have this why can’t I?’
‘My world is completely broadened and opened. I don’t feel like I’m missing out in life the way I did ten years ago.’
Samia’s father died when she was five. The rest of her family struggled to cope without him, and her relationships with her mother and brother deteriorated.
By the age of 16 it became impossible for Samia to continue living at home. She came to Centrepoint.
‘When I got to Centrepoint I was looking for everything I could that would help me.
‘Centrepoint has a lot. I went to eleven food workshops on healthy eating and cooking. They gave me pots and pans, which I took to university.
‘The best thing was the therapist. I had a lot of issues then, I’m sure a lot of other young people do, but the therapist was the best I’ve ever had.
Samia’s confidence grew and was channelled into her passions for writing, public speaking and photography.
‘I given a speech with Prince William twice. Once he even came over and said my speech was better than his!’
Samia wants to challenge some of the things she thinks are regularly misunderstood about young people and homelessness.
‘I think it’s true that people generally think young people are homeless by their own choice - that it’s their own fault because they don’t listen, they don’t go to school.
‘You have to do everything twice as hard, you’re exhausted and it affects your health. But we still do it and I think that’s what needs to be highlighted.’
Samia sees the change in her self-esteem as the most significant difference between her life before and after Centrepoint.
‘I’m really proud of myself, I’ve done things I wanted to do; I’ve been to the best art college, I’ve travelled everywhere that I’ve wanted to travel. I’ve had boyfriends and best friends. No one can take that away from me.
‘The difference is: now I love myself and back then I couldn’t.’