When Camomile Shumba arrived in the UK, she spoke virtually no English. Through hard work and encouragement, the now 16 year old has won awards for her ability to speak in public, appeared on radio and television, and was voted Head Girl at Colchester County High School.
The eloquent teenager entered Jack Petchey’s Speak Out Challenge in 2013 when some of the instructors came to visit her school to talk about the competition. Camomile was so inspired she decided to enter as it “switched on a competitive spark in me.”
Originally from Zimbabwe, the subject of her talk was “Forgotten Words” about her native language Shona and the significance of remembering and retaining her heritage.
“The experience was a massive confidence boost, and it also made other people see me differently. They now see me as a leader and a force to be reckoned with.”
Although she didn’t make it to the 2013 Grand Final, Camomile went on to participate in public speaking competitions across the country, winning the Youth Debate Competition hosted by the Rotary Club and another competition at St Mary’s Private School for Girls.
Camomile also became a member of the Jack Petchey Foundation Achiever’s Network, and has represented the Foundation at numerous events, chaperoning VIPs and acting as an ambassador on both TV and Radio.
When she finishes school, Camomile wants to study PPE at Oxford (Politics, Philosophy and Economics), with an aspiration to help others in the world.
“My main goal in life in to make a positive change - I want to help to change the way young people view themselves, and help them to recognize their potential.”
You can listen to Camomile’s interview on BBC Essex in the YouTube clip below!
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