A Southall student from Somalia who had to work in a call centre to fund her A-level studies has said she’s ecstatic to have achieved her dream of going to university.
Hamdaa Ali, 19, moved to Hayes when she was just nine from her home in East Africa, having grown up in the region.
Her mother died about a week after she was born, and her father has not moved to the UK, leaving Hamdaa and her 35-year-old sister to support themselves.
She’s worked at a call centre for the last two years, which she needed to do to support her and her sister, but admits it made school difficult
But today (August 15) she received an A* in sociology, a B in psychology and an A in business studies after studying at Villiers School in Southall .
The results were enough to gain her a place at City, University of London, where she will study sociology and media.
She said: “When I first came to the UK it was a big adjustment. It’s just made me want to make it.
“All the issues I’ve had trying to get my Passport and stuff, this just makes it all worth it.”
She added: “I’m honestly so shocked. I really didn’t expect any of those grades. I’ve had such a rough year and had to repeat it because I felt so pressured. The School put up with a lot from me to be honest, the head of sixth form especially.
She added: “Last year there was a time when it felt like it [her job] was getting in the way of my studies. But I needed the money for my lunch and stuff. It’s just being able to balance it all.
“My sister’s supported me a lot and put her life on hold for me. We’ve had to give as much as she can just to pay for me being here.
Head of sixth form, Patrick Cootes, paid tribute to journey at the school.
He said: “Today is actually the first time we’ve received the full story is with her.
“We know that she was supporting herself and these days it’s alarmingly often that you get cases dealing with real life challenges.
“I feel really privileged to play a small part in the lives of these people. I’m really proud of her.”
She moved to the UK without her parents when she was just nine years old