Saqib was born in Senegal and has lived in Belgium, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.  For years Saqib didn't feel accepted for who he was.  Growing up, teachers didn't acknowledge his learning disability and he was bullied at school.  But when he arrived in Harrow, and started at Shaftesbury School, everything began to change for the better.

"At school in Zimbabwe some boy started picking on me because I was different", Saqib told us.  "He hit me so hard my head hurt and so I hit him back.  My whole body tensed up when this happened and I just kept asking myself "why are you doing this to me?'.  Later on the school expelled me but I just felt they never tried to properly understand what had happened or my learning disability.

"When I came to Harrow I felt happy.  I loved going to Shaftesbury School and met lots of friends and felt respected there.  The school helped me get work experience and I've tried lots of new things.  I got the chance to start up my own staff, where I sold cakes and coffee.  They also helped me get work experience at a  charity shop but I didn't get the certificates in the end because the manager said I hadn't put the clothes on the rail properly.  I was really disappointed about that because with a little support I know I can do things.

"You're so excited to get the opportunity to work in a shop and it can feel like a giant stone has come down and crushed you when people tell you that you haven't done something perfectly.  You feel ashamed when people put you down and I don't want to feel like that, but employers find it hard to accept you for who you are"

"Coming to Harrow Mencap and taking part in Skill Up, has given me much more confidence in myself.  Staff make me happy and understand me.  I used to be scared of heights but now I've been rock climbing I've forgotten about being frightened.  I really enjoy cricket and love the feeling of being part of a team when everyone works together

Last year I gave a speech at the Children's Service Development Day about my experiences and ideas.  About 20 people were there and some people started to cry when I spoke about home I want things to change.

"I want to be more independent and one day be able to live on my own.  The staff at Harrow Mencap help me believe that it's actually possible and that gives me a lot of hope.  It would be nice if I wasn't always rejected when I apply for jobs because I know I can do a lot of things well".