Olivia is 19 and lives in Wrexham.
When we were introduced it was immediately obvious how shy and quiet she was but she came alive when speaking about animals. When we suggested she hold a snake as part of the photo shoot she agreed straight away. Despite never having handled a snake before she embraced the opportunity.
Olivia struggled at school and left without any qualifications, however, she has returned to education and is currently studying animal care at Coleg Cambria in Northop.
“I have always wanted to work with animals. I didn’t like school because I am a very socially anxious person and just did not fit in. People made me feel uncomfortable and I was bullied.
“Bullies should get a life. It gets them nowhere. I still see the people who used to bully me from my school and their life is not any better than mine. They didn’t accomplish anything by making me feel bad. It doesn’t resolve anything being that mean to someone. It just makes you a bad person.”
The ‘We can…’ project was devised so that people who experience learning difficulties or who have complex needs can tell their story through photography, video and the accompanying story. When Olivia was asked about her difficulties at school and her ambition for the future she spoke so eloquently and beautifully that we were deeply affected by what she had to say.
"Not enough people care about the animals. I just feel like I was put on earth to look out for them. Since a young age I always had this really strong bond with animals. A lot more than I have had with any person. I just feel like helping them in any way I can. That is why I want to become a vet so I can help the ones in need.
"If you just do what people expect you to do you just end up miserable and depressed in a job you don’t want but if you follow your passion you will want to wake up in the morning and go to work. You won’t care how much you make or where you live. It is about what you are doing and it just keeps your heart beating and you are happy about it. It’s great!"
Olivia has emotional and social support needs.