surviving to thriving




Nicole Smith captures the hardships immigrants face when they come to the UK


Nicole Smith is 20 years old currently studying medical science this; is her story: she fled from Zimbabwe four years ago on her own when she was only 16. She left in such a rush because her circumstances in Zimbabwe were not ideal.


“It was a hard journey I was very young I grabbed one bag that’s how much of a rush I was in and I headed into the South African border”.


She spent about 2-3 months in Ireland because they could not locate her mother she was placed in the care of social services.


"The hardest thing about coming to the UK is the adjustment, when I arrived, I arrived in Ireland I spent 2-3 months there before they contacted my mum."


"I was around people I didn’t know it was my first time in a third world country. It was very overwhelming, but it was better than being back home.”


Although it has been four years since Nicole left Zimbabwe, she stills feels very connected to the culture.


"One thing I miss about Zimbabwe is the environment people are happier and more welcoming."


"I have a lot of friends from Zimbabwe that I met when I came here, and I have reconnected with a lot of childhood friends as well. I also made a lot of Zimbabwe friends at university."


"The only thing that I miss is my older brother and friends."


"Her connection with her faith and counselling helped her through difficult times."


"When I first came to the UK I didn’t seek as much help as I should have and eventually my emotions were bottled up so I did go through counselling and prayer helped me a lot.”


"My advice to others would be to stay positive even though it's hard from the begging I felt like there was better out there and I know there is better out there for you too."

How Haven Cartley found himself homeless at the young of 20


When college came around Haven was thinking about what he wanted to do with his life. He was getting pulled from all different directions by his college and by his family. However, he was more focused on going into the workforce.

‘‘I did not want to do that because I felt like I needed real-life experience if you to get a job.’’


He applied for many apprenticeships in a user experience design company in Princeton reached out to him. Due to travel costs, he ended up moving in with his uncle and commuting to Princeton. While he was working, University was still on his mind Heaven was undecided about going.


‘‘After a while, I knew my job position I still had not told my family I was not going.’’


Instead of not going to University, he switched the application from full-time to part-time, which meant that he had to commute from Princeton to Leicester every day if he wanted to get to his classes on time. There was finical stress on him since he was not getting any maintenance loans due to him being a part-time student.

Although the people around him were supportive thinking, about accommodation 24/7 did affect him.


“The situation did affect the studies I kept trying to figure out where I could sleep at night rather than focusing on my work.”

“I was sleeping in my car to start with for the first lesson I asked one of the guys in my class if I could sleep on his sofa were friends for life now.”

The connection with his faith helped him through the difficult moments.

“Faith in God's prayer, knowing that there is a high power looking after me. I did not have anything to fear. When I look back it could have been a lot worse than it was.”

Haven feels like this experience shaped him into the person that he is today.

“I am an independent person: it made me want to go against the grain even more and think outside of the box.”

Ade Augustine on starting a record label from the ground up


"I realised why be the CEO of just myself when I could manage other people that’s when the idea of starting a record label came to me.


"Ade Augustine is 22 years old currently studying business however he always had a deep connection to music. He created an independent record label called August Krown Entrainment late last year.


“Music always seems to help me when all else fails as a kid I always dreamed about being a rapper, but my family killed that dream, so I started august crown entertainment.”


'' When I was younger I wanted to be a rapper however my family killed that dream.''


“I realised why be the CEO of just myself when I could manage other people that’s when the idea of starting a record label came to me."


August Krown Entertainment is committed to finding, cultivating, developing, and promoting only the best in music. As a record label, they are constantly on the hunt for fresh new faces they currently have four artists signed to their label.


“I look for artists who are, unique they have a different flow and melody they don’t just stick to one genre.”


He faced many challenges.


“We had limited recourses money being the main one my, the first photoshoot was shot on an I phone; in the student hang out area, we had nothing."


“Juggling a small business and being a student is hard during the day I have lectures and at night I must go to work I run on three hours of sleep.”


“With, COVID-19 my life became even harder merch companies have become even more difficult to work with, I cannot hire any studio sessions for my artist.”


“When to comes to building a brand people a lot of people want to know who you are I guess they want to know where their money is going I got a lot of anxiety I had to come out of my comfort zone. “


“My advice to others would be to keep working hard and keep going because no one else will tell your story.“

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