Four women studying inside

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08 March 2019

Thanks to your inspiring support, we raised over £30,000 for women in prison during the Big Give Christmas Challenge – helping to forge a more gender-balanced world by ensuring access to education.

Your support is already making a difference to women studying in prisons across England and Wales. Read about the steps they’re taking to build themselves brighter futures.

 

 ‘Sofia’, in her teens, studying AS Level Psychology

“I aim to make my time in custody as productive as possible.”

“Prior to my incarceration, Psychology had always been a topic that fascinated me. However, my learning came to an abrupt end due to my apprehension. I was remanded at a youth detention centre which was not equipped to deliver beyond GCSE level. I resorted to Psychology based books and textbooks. It has been massively insightful to me and now I know for certain that I want to build my future career around this field.

“However, I require support to achieve my goal of obtaining my A-levels. I feel that this support can only be attained by doing this distance learning course via the PET as I have no means of financial support from family/friends in the community.

“I aim to make my time in custody as productive as possible. I would like to set myself up for a career – post imprisonment – whereby I will be able to work with and support youth offenders.”

‘Alexandra’, in her 40s, studying Foundation Drawing

“This course will give me structure but will also help me with my confidence.”

“I have a long history of mental illness, however drawing helps me forget my pain. I love to get lost in drawing – it’s one thing that makes me forget the demons in my head. Drawing gives me a true feeling of escape.

“I feel this course could make me a better and a stronger person, as in the last three months I have found it’s OK for me not to be OK. Prison is just a few years in my life; I will not let my sentence stop my tenacity for doing something I have such a passion for.”

“By doing this course I will be turning a negative into a positive as I believe that when I am released from prison I am going to enrol on a foundation art degree course. This course will give me structure but will also help me with my confidence.”

‘Ella’, in her 20s, studying Construction Technologies Theory

“There is nothing better than knowing you’re getting through your sentence gaining qualifications to improve your future.”

“I need a career on the outside that’ll keep me on my feet. Like a very hands-on job. I know something in the trades will also help my mental health condition as well. I know I’m a very hands on person and that’s where I’m most successful.

“I did join a Multi Skills course in college before I came into custody. It was a course that contained a qualification in joinery, bricklaying, electrics, painting and decorating. For the short-lived time I spent on the course I really enjoyed it, the theory as well as the practical side of things. And that’s when I knew a job in the trade will be beneficial for me.

“I also don’t just think the course will help me for upon my release date I also think it’ll help me within the prison as well: doing something you enjoy is very important as well to keep your mind at ease whilst in custody, there is nothing better than knowing you’re getting through your sentence gaining qualifications to improve your future.”

‘Christine’, in her 40s, studying Counselling Skills

“I am trying to turn prison into a positive experience”

“My friends/family say I would make a great counsellor. I have helped several families sort out family affairs following bereavements. Whenever anyone I know needs advice I will always try to help.

“I have previously been through a mentally/physically abusive relationship and have come through the other side. I believe I can help others in a similar situation. I believe everything I have been through has made me a strong person.

“Although I find myself in prison, I am trying to turn prison into a positive experience by giving myself the opportunity of gaining further education in a totally different profession. In my first weeks of being here I saw a lady helping another to read and the gratitude showed for the help she received touched me. I know I really want to help others.”

 ‘Michelle’, in her 30s, studying Surveying Technologies Theory

“I am excited at the prospect of being able to study a subject which both excites myself and appeals so greatly.”

“I am a mother to a 16-year-old girl whom I’d love nothing more than to make her proud of myself.

“I personally know someone who works in the hydrographic surveying industry and I am always keen and intrigued to discover more on this subject and the works that are completed under water on the sea bed.

“In the long term I would like to use the knowledge from this qualification to enable myself to enrol on a higher level qualification and look to either work for myself as an independent surveyor, surveying in the construction trade, or look for an apprenticeship within said trade.

“I am looking to widen my knowledge and am excited at the prospect of being able to study a subject which both excites myself and appeals so greatly. This will be my first step towards my ultimate goal of working within this sector.”

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