Success against the odds

3rd June 2005 at 01:00
Tope Ajala ran away from his home in London to Brighton at the age of 14 when the physical abuse became too much to bear.

Today, the 24-year-old is on the point of completing a degree in business management and marketing at Brunel university in west London.

But he said his carers never encouraged his ambitions, the local authority offered no advice about education and it cut him off without support the year he went to university.

Even at home, he suffered racist abuse from the white children being fostered in the same family, he said.

He did badly at GCSE, but took resits and eventually won a place at college and finally gained a university place.

A friend's mother who acted as a surrogate parent encouraged his ambitions, he said.

He also praised the Frank Buttle Trust, which supported him through the first year of university when he had no funding from the local authority.

"Now I just want to be a successful entrepreneur and help the trust," he said.

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