A survivor of modern slavery who was brought to the UK from Ghana and forced into domestic servitude is the first recipient of the Sister Ann Teresa Bursary Award.
The Sr. Ann Teresa Bursary providing financial assistance to help meet education and training costs for Modern Slavery survivors, was set up in memory of Medaille’s founder Sr. Ann Teresa SSJA who died earlier this year. Its first recipient, Joy (not her real name) from Ghana, lost her mother when she was 13. She began living with a friend of her mother’s and was brought to the UK two years later to live with someone who she thought was a relative. In the UK, Joy was forced into domestic servitude and then kicked out on the streets in 2008. She was homeless and sofa surfing for eight years. Joy was referred to a Medaille Trust safe house by The Salvation Army in 2019. Joy says all her needs are being met at the safe house. Joy is due to begin a Degree in Finance and Accountancy in September at the University of Greenwich which has awarded her the Sanctuary Scholarship which pays all her tuition fees. The Sr. Ann Teresa Bursary of £1,200 will help her to buy books and equipment and fund travel and living costs.
Presenting Joy with the award Medaille Trustee Sr. Henrietta Curran SSJA, a long-time friend of Sr. Ann Teresa, said that Joy was making history by being the first recipient of the award. She said Sr. Ann Teresa must be rejoicing wherever she is. Sr. Henrietta said once Joy gets her accountancy qualifications “who knows where that will lead; maybe even going through the doors of Number 11 offering your talents to the Treasury!” She added: “However your dreams evolve, you will qualify in your chosen profession and make history in that as well.”
Joy in accepting the award thanked Medaille Trust for supporting her and said “events in my life have prevented me from pursuing my studies but with this financial assistance I can look forward to a brighter future.”