9 September 2019

At the age of just 13, Renell Harding was homeless.

Growing up in an abusive environment, Renell’s home life was ‘very distressing’.

“My first childhood memories were my dad abusing my mum- it was rarely peaceful at home," says Renell, 21, from Colindale, North-West London.

Diagnosed with autism at a young age and growing up in an abusive home environment meant Renell had a more difficult upbringing than most.

For many this would seem like an impossible situation to manoeuvre but, now 21, Renell has harnessed this hardship into motivation and is about to begin his Graduate Diploma in Law on a full scholarship. 

'I realised I had to give my education my all'

“I did not think any of this would happen when I was homeless," he said. “During that time I realised I have to give my education my all if I wanted to make something of myself.

“I never thought I would be where I was today.”

At school, Renell kept his homelessness a secret from his teachers and friends.

He said: “I could not tell anyone about it - I could not tell any school friends about it.

"It was so stressful we had to keep moving.”

This did not hinder his academic progression, however, and Renell graduated with a 2.1 in History from Swansea this summer while completing competitive law internships over the holidays.

The Brent resident has turned his life around through hard-work, determination, and initiative and is determined to pursue a career in law.

Rejected for scholarships and hardship funds, Renell took to crowdfunding online and raised £11,175 in just 28 days to try and cover the tuition fees.

Though impressive, he fell short of the target by £7,000 and was ready to withdraw from the course when he received a phone call from the University of Law who had seen his CrowdFunder and wanted to offer him a full scholarship.

He said: “A woman rang me and said members of the student finance team had come across his fundraising page and loved it - they were willing to offer me a scholarship.

“I was really happy because I gave it my all and I felt very grateful for it.”

Source: MyLondon