I have a responsibility to live a life my parents would be proud of. I’ve had to work extremely hard. I want to prove I’m not just an ordinary boy from Nigeria. I’m 19 now and my dream is to become an architect. I want to take pride in what I do and where I live.

Pencil illustration of a red London phone-box.

I came to the UK when I was 10 and I moved in with my auntie in Kennington. It was such a different environment here - the vibe, the way of life, the way people spoke - it was all so different to what I was used to. I remember being delighted at the sights of red buses, pavements, corner shops - that sort of thing.

I felt good about going to primary school. I felt welcome and I felt like they wanted to get to know me. I used to tell my friends the stories I’d heard growing up in Nigeria. They were fairy tales and my friends loved listening to them.

I’m not one of the smartest kids, but I work my socks off and I try to be a role model for others.

Secondary school was harder. I didn’t know everyone well enough. It was also tough because I had to move out of the area and then travel back in to go to school. It meant I got the Tube everyday. I was an underground person from an early age!

I went through a rough patch and my auntie was worried I was going to join a gang. That was quite hard. You hear about a lot of stabbings in London, but I don’t feel unsafe. I’m not one of the smartest kids, but I work my socks off and I try to be a role model for others. I was proud to become Head Boy at my school. I have a dream of going back there one day wearing a football shirt with my name on it!

I want to be an architect because I think your environment makes a huge difference to how you live and how you behave. Beauty enhances the love you have for your area. When you live in an area that’s pleasing, it’s somewhere you can call home. Back in Nigeria my house was lilac. Everyone had different coloured houses - it was beautiful! Colours bring life to everything. When I see colours and vibrancy I feel better. I want to make a difference in society and that means making a change.

Friends and teachers are a big part of my life. I think they’ve made me who I am today. Recently I got into opera after I went to the Royal Opera House. I know it’s not usual for teenagers to like opera but I just love the stories! It’s totally changed my perspective of music.

I lost contact with my parents when I was in Year 8 at school. I had to man up. The thing that keeps me going is thinking how proud they would be of me. Everything I do is to make them happy. I use that as a motivation. I’ll get in touch with them one day, when I’m ready.

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