Oaklands student reveals life-changing impact of Duke of Edinburgh award

Oaklands College student Myah Richards paid tribute to the "life-changing" impact of her Duke of Edinburgh award this week.


Myah Richards, a student at Oaklands College paid tribute to the “life-changing” impact of her Duke of Edinburgh award this week. 

Speaking to The Herts Advertiser, Myah- A student with cerebral palsy and spastic diplegia, said that achieving a Bronze Award three years ago helped break down the barriers of perception around her disability and gave her the confidence to enrol on a college course.

Myah, who also has Tourette’s Syndrome and visual impairment, meaning she has no peripheral vision, completed her Bronze DofE programme while at Lonsdale School in Stevenage.

She said: “Because of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award I’m now studying Health and Social Care at Oaklands College and that’s all down to The DofE; it’s built up my confidence. Before that I was doing special needs courses, so it has been both life-changing and life-enhancing.

It gives you the ability, rather than looking at disability all the time, and helps you see what your capabilities are and what you can achieve in the future. You realise you’re an equal and it builds up your confidence to say to people ‘I’m disabled but I can do this’.” 

Myah explained why she decided to complete her Bronze DofE: “I just thought I would join in and see how far I would get with it and I went on to finish it. It made me feel on the same level as everyone else taking part.

Reflecting on Prince Philip’s legacy, Myah said: “I’m really glad the Duke of Edinburgh started The DofE Award and that my school enabled me to take part because without it I might have left school without a career plan. When you’re disabled, you think “what’s the point in trying to qualify when society views disability so negatively?”  but if you don’t try, you don’t know.”

She said: “I have chosen to go into this field for my future career because I have had lots of friends with Duchenne muscular dystrophy and I would like to be able to provide a better quality life for people suffering from this condition and other life limiting conditions in childhood.”

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