Bullied Ilford teenager turns experience into opportunity to help others
PUBLISHED: 12:05 06 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:06 06 May 2016
A teenager who missed 18 months of school after being bullied has been using her experience to inspire other youngsters through public speaking.
Lashai Ben Salmi, 15, has been nominated for a Recorder/Rotary Young Citizen Award after turning adversity into empowerment.
The youngster is the star of two radio shows – one called Connecting the Dots, where she interviews leaders in their field, and another called Let’s Talk It Out with Lashai.
Her inspirational words are not confined to other young people though.
In March, she was a guest speaker at a Women in Business and Property Network talk for International Women’s Day.
“I talked about setting goals for yourself and achieving them and about empowerment in general, and it was pretty well received as quite a few people came up after thanking me and asking me questions,” said Lashai, who is a pupil at Loxford School of Science and Technology, Loxford Lane, Ilford.
The teenager has also written a book, Kidz That Dream Big,
with a second set to come out
later this year, and has started attending the prestigious Andy Harrington’s Professional Speaker Academy.
All of this has led to Lashai, of Eton Road, Ilford, receiving a Precious Girls Award which celebrates young girls trying to make a difference – but for Lashai, it’s not about her.
Mum-of-five Sabrina Ben Salmi, 36, said: “I am very proud of her.
“I saw her broken. A child that was bubbly went through bullying and wouldn’t talk to a fly. Now she is standing on a stage talking to children in schools.
“She has come out of herself to help other people.”
Lashai added: “For me it’s a fulfilling selfless act, I’m saying that I’ve been through this and am trying to encourage other young people to make their dreams come true.”
Despite all her achievements, Lashai – who previously won the Young Citizen award in 2011 – does not see herself as the best public speaker.
She said: “I’m not 110 per cent comfortable on stage myself, but I think I’m getting there.”
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