WINNER AMELIA DUFFY
This award is given to a to a young women who has overcome great hurdles and traumas to become a shining light for female empowerment and this years’ winner inspired the whole room with her powerful story.
Amelia had to deal with more upset and tragedy growing up than most of us will deal with in a lifetime. From a broken, dysfunctional home, at the mercy of parents at war, homeless at 10, then living with a Mother who had a drug and alcohol addiction resulting in neglect for her and her little sister.
After running away several times she finally moved back in with her Dad and at 13 the next tragedy struck. Her best friend, drowned in a local canal on a very rare day when she was not with him. At this point her anger kicked in. She was constantly letting off steam with teachers and other pupils and got a reputation as a fighter. At around this time she also stopped eating regularly, got depressed, started self-harming and smoking weed and then got involved with one of the town thugs, who was in and out of prison, a very bad influence and so angry at her for not going to see him in prison he threatened to throw acid over her face when he got out!
At this point she was 14 and felt lost, angry, frustrated, scared and alone and due to her volatile behaviour was nominated by her school to attend the Stardom programme – an emotionally intensive intervention programme for troubled girls who are at risk of permanent exclusion.
This programme gave her a safe place to reflect on her life, to consider her choices and consequences and start to unpick her behaviour. She embraced it with open arms and changed her life – it’s that simple!