Ollie aged 20
My name is Olatunde. But people call me Ollie. I came to this country 5 years ago from Nigeria when I was 15. I came with an uncle of mine from a situation where I was in danger. I saw a lot of cruelty. It left a big scar. I don’t know who my real mum and dad are. It’s just too hard to go into that. I haven’t been back. For me, my mum is Mum Sylvia, my foster carer. It’s been a real journey.
I arrived in winter, when it was freezing. The police picked me up and got social services involved. From there I got a foster family, Mum Sylvia. She is am amazing person. She is from the Caribbean, and gave me and other young people such a lovely family. She taught me how to cook, wash, to budget and now I live on my own. Every time I cook a meal I think of her. She made me know there was something called love.
Back at age 15 I didn’t know how to speak English. I only had pidgin English. So much change has happened, it’s been 5 years of adventure. I have become a wiser person since being here. I learnt to speak English, then did GCSEs. I was on a youth panel, then a member of the Youth Cabinet, and vice chair of the Children in Care Cabinet. I have confidence now to speak and to help other young people. Now I’m doing Access to University in psychology at Reading College and I have my final 3-hour exam in June!
I’ve got a job as a Youth Worker and for Primark. And I volunteer at a Youth Club. Next year I’ll take a year off to save money to go to University. I hope to go to Royal Holloway; it’s one of the best psychology courses in the UK. I am interested in why people are kind, why some are mean. This does go back to when I first came to this country and the experiences I brought with me. Maybe I can find answers to these questions about what makes human beings as they are!