Ava*, a woman in her mid-30s who is originally from East Africa, is a victim of modern slavery.
She was one of the first cohort of students on the free thinking programme. Despite suffering health problems and experiencing accommodation issues during the course, she successfully completed it.
“With time, I am trying to move on from my past and learn that not all people, not all men are monsters. I am also going through counselling to try to build my confidence around men, which I still don’t have right now. However, when I am in the classroom, I can talk to male classmates and tutors. This is a big step for me.
“We don’t know our future but all of us, we hope for the best. Like now, I’m waiting for my decision but I’d prefer if I could do my maths and English. If I could have that chance, I’d be grateful.
“[My trauma is] always on my back, on my forehead; it’s always here. Coming [to the college] is really making me able to ease myself, and the [burden] is getting lighter and lighter. I’m trying my level best, if I can, to forget the past. I am so grateful and humble to be on this course and for what Northern College has done for us.”
*Not her real name