Current second year student, Awa, joined Orpheus in September 2016 and from day one demonstrated an eagerness to learn, along with a positive exuberant attitude. Thanks to Orpheus’ work experience programme, Awa has had the opportunity to train with Graeae, Britain’s leading D/deaf and disabled theatre company.
Since starting at Orpheus, Awa’s confidence and self-belief have flourished. Learning to face her fears, she has built resilience to become more independent in every aspect of her life. Often acting as an advocate for disability and an ambassador for Orpheus, she faces the physical and emotional challenges cerebral palsy can bring while supporting others to understand nothing is impossible if you have the right support, a positive attitude and work hard. This has only be strengthened in recent months as Awa has taken part in her internship with Graeae. After completing an intensive week there in October, Awa went on to be picked for a 3 month internship starting in January, for two days a week. Having continued with this, travelling independently to London and working with a mentor she had her contract extended and was asked to stay until the end of July working 3 days a week. This has not only provided valuable travel training, a boost in confidence and lots of independence, it has encouraged Awa to pursue her dream of directing and given her the opportunity to develop the skills she needs in the world of work. Previously, Awa was also selected to attend a short apprenticeship at the BBC in London, giving her the fantastic opportunity to discover how a news team runs, developing her passion for journalism. This is what work experience at Orpheus is all about; giving students the skills, confidence and experience they need to become young, independent adults who lead happy and fulfilling. During Orpheus’ recent song week, in which students begin with a blank piece of paper and end with a number of original songs, Awa penned ‘Leaving it all behind’. Through the cathartic lyrics, she displayed maturity and self-assurance in sharing her feelings prior to attending Orpheus in comparison to where she stands now: “I’m not angry anymore, It was hard but look at me now, Living the life that I want, Leaving the past in the past, And the hurt, I’m leaving it all behind.”