Laura’s profile from the event
Laura Harris has transformed into a confident and successful student progressing to university, having worked to overcome a troubled childhood where she experienced homelessness, substance abuse, domestic violence and mental health issues.
The 33-year-old mother-of-three moved to Aberdare, she knew no-one in the area so decided to enrol in college and this was when Lauraâ€™s learning journey began in 2015. Laura started with an Access to Humanities course and progressed onto Level 3 Business
& Administration. She says, â€œI wanted to get an education to help my children with their school work. I relish learning and nothing feels more rewarding than getting distinctions in my work.â€
Determined, Laura excelled at her studies and in her coursework. She has also used her challenging background to help others. As part of a theatre workshop Laura devised a DVD
which features her experiences on relationships and domestic violence.
The DVD was rolled out across schools and colleges in the county and won a National Union of Students Enterprise award in 2016. As a result of the trauma of her past life, Laura suffers panic attacks, however her nominator, Laura Wilson of Coleg y Cymoedd comments; â€œLauraâ€™s story could have ended so differently but she continues to inspire and amaze those around her. Education has proved a turning point for her health and wellbeing
and I am so very proud of her.â€
Laura is now moving on to Higher Education, having secured a place to study Events Management at the University of South Wales in September.
Laura says: â€œI wanted to better myself and the best way I thought I could do that was by going to college. I had so little confidence, I feel much better about myself and stronger too.
My message to anyone who suffers from mental health, alcohol and drug problems like I did – the answer is education! It transformed my life. Education has empowered me, it has
been my life saver. Iâ€™ve proved to myself and others that I can do it.â€
Rhondda Cynon Taff