Abdulai, 18 moved to Coventry in 2016 from Sierra Leone. In the past year, he has been working with his Progress Coach, Kuldip, to make a better life for himself and achieve his dreams of becoming a doctor.
"I joined Progress earlier this year. My mum had found out about the Breakthrough project [another Building Better Opportunities programme] for herself and Progress was recommended to me.
"Before joining Progress I didn’t have any confidence or any friends. I saw myself as nothing. But the more I got involved with the programme the more my confidence grew.
"Miss Kuldip has helped me involved in loads of projects. I’ve been on a residential in Wales where we went swimming as well as other outdoor activities. I’ve never done anything like that before – it was fun! When we practised the indoor climbing I managed to get right to the top of the wall which really surprised me. It was a great feeling.
"I’m pleased with how much I’m learning. I’ve recently joined City College which I’m really enjoying. On my first day, I definitely had more confidence that I would have if I hadn’t worked with Miss Kuldip. I gained qualifications in Sierra Leone but they were different to GCSE’s so I’m currently doing my Level 1 and 2 English and Maths. Eventually, I want to go to University and train to be a doctor.
"Before I came to Coventry I knew a little English but I’ve been working hard to learn and improve my English language. When Miss Kuldip texts me she never abbreviates the words so I can practice my spelling!
"I love dancing. In one of the activities I took part in, other young people had to write the words that best describe me and 'amazing dancer' was one of them. There were other words and phrases like 'hardworking' and 'resilient' but my favourite one was 'always makes others people smile – I like making people happy.
"I would definitely recommend Progress to other young people that need help. You never know what’s going to happen with life and since being involved in Progress my life has changed completely."
Kuldip Galsinh is Abdulai’s Progress Coach. Since working with him she is so proud of what he has achieved so far.
"I’m so proud of what Abdulai has achieved since joining Progress.
"There have been several personal highlights for me when I think back to his journey so far. One of the first activities he was involved in was a robot construction competition where he had to work with fellow teammates to make a robot. I was so thrilled when his team won – seeing him on stage receiving his certificate was such a highlight and showed me how determined he is to succeed. His mum is really proud of him too.
"We’ve also been working to improve his life skills and recently I helped Abdulai open a bank account. A few days after starting the process I rang him to say that we needed to complete the rest of the forms and give them to the bank and he had already done it. I was so proud. It may not sound like much, but for him, it was such an achievement and showed how much he had grown in confidence and ability.
"He’s learning life skills and learning to do it on his own."
Read more inspiring Progress stories here.