Ayah Benberna: Brave New Words graduate wins university scholarship

How does it feel to have been awarded an Adobe Creativity scholarship?

Every time someone talks to me about it, this smile appears on my face. It won’t hit me until I go to university. This type of thing doesn’t happen to me.

I feel like positivity is the key to my success, as well as my goal in life which is to give back to the community and worldwide.

What are your future aspirations?

I want to highlight issues that no-one speaks about. I want to change people’s lives through the power of speech, through media and writing articles. In the society we live in, media is the quickest way to get the message through to people (e.g. through Twitter, texts). I think that we have this opportunity and we need to use it positively.

After NewVIc, I will be going to Middlesex University to study journalism and media. I also work with Eden Care, an upcoming charity that focuses on the terminally ill. I have been producing documentaries on how young BAME people feel about the NHS, as well as writing articles and producing a blog with Dr Shewli who works there. They believe in helping the ill as much as they can. I am a befriender and part of the management and media teams. We find befrienders who then support those who are ill. We also provide financial support to the patients and their families.

Outside of college, I am also a tutor and teach maths and English to pupils in year 2.

How have your teachers and tutors supported you in your studies and aspirations?

My teachers have changed me as a person. They have made me so open-minded. They have given me a whole new perspective on life. They are amazing, all of them! There is something new to learn every day. They don’t just become your teacher, they become your friend. They supported me through everything and I hope to keep in contact with them after college.

Who has inspired you at NewVIc?

My teachers have always inspired me. Everything and everyone. I get inspiration from everyone, from my friends, other students to Eddie Playfair – I find him so humble and very calm.

Have you been involved in any extra-curricular activities or summer schools at college?

My main activity has been Brave New Voices with English PEN. I’ve been doing that for two years now. We got to produce and design our own book, Write the Wrong.

I was part of the film club for a while before going on to make my own films. I also play tennis weekly for an hour to de-stress.

What is your advice for students who want to study media at college?

You’re going to have times where you will question yourself and ask if this is really what you want to do. I think the main thing is about you enjoying it. There’s no wrong or right in media. Don’t stay in your comfort zone – if you want to go outside of that, then do it. As long as you enjoy it.

Thanks to Ayah and New VIc for permission to republish this interview.


About Ayah

Ayah Benberna is a Newham Sixth Form College student and studying for a level 3 BTEC extended diploma in creative media production and AS-level film studies. Ayah has been awarded an Adobe Creativity university scholarship by Adobe Youth Voices. The scholarship will support Ayah financially for up to four years, while she studies at university. In 2015, Ayah was part of the Brave New Words collective at New VIc and contributed to the English PEN anthology Write the Wrong.

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This content is published by the English PEN staff.

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