Born to Ukrainian parents in London, I now reside in Scotland after graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in German & Linguistics in 2017 – and I plan to stick around. I work in social care and moonlight as a photographer every now and then. I’m big on my activism and campaigning, particularly around feminism, LGBT+ issues, disability, and mental illness. I’m queer and I love bees.
Which young Scot inspires you?
There is a poet called Catherine Wilson who’s making a name for herself in the UK and abroad – she does absolutely beautiful spoken word, on a variety of issues, she’s a super hard worker and she’s also very very caring and outspoken on social issues. She does a lot of work to raise awareness about gun control and why it’s so important, too, as her family was affected by Dunblane, and her strength around this is really incredible.
What is the best thing about growing up in Scotland?
I didn’t actually grow up here, but I have lived here for five years now, and one of the best things I’ve found here is that people in Scotland have your back. There’s a strong sense of community here that I don’t feel as much elsewhere, and as someone who dealt with a lot of social isolation growing up, I am really grateful now to live somewhere so welcoming and warm.
What would you most like people from older generations to know about young people?
Young people know themselves much better than we are given credit for, and we should be trusted to advocate for ourselves.
What is your biggest achievement to date?
When I was at university, I was elected to be Women’s Officer for a year. That was the proudest moment of my life, and I worked really hard that year to do things that would benefit women students as much as possible. I would say that whole year was my biggest achievement to date – I was able to influence policy to improve support for survivors of sexual violence, I ran a whole bunch of successful events and fundraisers, I raised awareness around a variety of issues that women face, and I was lucky enough to work with a superb team of people on issues facing disabled, LGBT+ and BME students as well. I also did this on top of working on the final (and very intense) year of my degree, which I got a first in. So yeah. That whole year was a big deal.
What would you most like to achieve in the future?
I currently work in social care supporting disabled people in their daily lives, and I would like to continue to improve my skills and practice to support people in a person-centred, empowering way. If I can work to provide the best quality support I can, and provide a supportive and understanding ear to anyone who needs it, that would make me happy. I want to see a world where everyone can get the support they need without question or barriers. I want to help create a world that is fairer than the one I grew up in.
What message would you like to give to other young people in Scotland?
When you’re young, a lot of people try to tell you what to do and who to be. Their expectations don’t always match your reality, and you might feel forced into a box that does not fit you. My advice would be to try and rise above that as much as you can, be your most authentic self, and pursue interests and dreams that are actually yours. Everyone will be better off for it.
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