In March The Prince's Trust held the national finals of our annual Celebrate Success Awards, in which we recognise the successes of our most inspirational young people, and the people who helped them get where they are today. The winner of our Young Achiever of the Year Award was Afsana Benozir, here is her story:
At the age of 10, Afsana’s behaviour began to change dramatically. She refused to play with friends and her increasing withdrawal impacted greatly on all aspects of her life.
Her condition deteriorated to such an extent that by age 12 she was self-harming and displaying violent mood swings. By now her family believed they had lost all control of Afsana and as time passed their relationship suffered. She later survived two suicide attempts.
After the second incident she admitted herself to hospital where she received psychiatric assessment. Following these events, medical leave took her out of education and Afsana gave up any aspirations she had held. After nine months of weekly psychotherapy sessions Afsana was finally ready to reveal the root of her problems; from the age of six she had suffered serious abuse from a family friend.
Additional conflict at home prompted Afsana to move out and it was here that a Support Worker referred her to The Prince's Trust. She attended a 12-week personal development course helping young people build confidence and workplace skills. Despite mixing with the wrong crowd, the potential within this intelligent girl was still apparent.
During the course, Afsana initially displayed hostile behaviour, but soon she developed greater tolerance to others while coming to understand the importance of qualities like commitment and self-respect. Perhaps most notably she also began to trust people once more.
Finishing The Prince’s Trust programme was a huge achievement for Afsana and it gave her the confidence to complete a recent Medical and Biomedicine college course with distinctions. Now in possession of the required grades, she plans to follow a long-held dream to become a doctor by applying to study medicine at university. The confident and positive 20-year-old says:
"Hand on heart, if it wasn’t for the support and experience I received from The Prince's Trust, I would most likely not be here today."