Rap singer delivering upbeat message to troubled pupils
AN up-and-coming rap star is visiting Bristol schools to encourage pupils to seek support if they are having a tough time in their family life.
Skrilla UGQ, who comes from a broken home in St Paul's, has already delivered her message to pupils at Fairfield School in Horfield and will visit Henbury School next month.
The 28-year-old mum wants to use her experience of living a fulfilled life following a troubled childhood as an inspiration to others.
She has launched a campaign called Make It Worth It, which is aimed at encouraging children to seek support to overcome problems they face in their younger years.
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With her mother addicted to drugs and her father suffering from mental health problems, Skrilla was forced to live with her aunt from the age of six.
She said: "I was lucky enough to have not been sent into care. I understand this situation can be very stressful. It's difficult for some people to imagine or comprehend what it's like to miss your mum and dad.
"For my own wellbeing I was not able to be with them. Although I had major problems going on at home, I made a choice from a young age that I was going to be a success in my life.
"I was not going to let where I came from determine where I was going. I was not going to give up or live up to people's low expectations of me just because of the unfortunate situations my parents were in.
"In school I always tried my best, even on days when I was feeling down. I used it as motivation to take steps to make my life better."
Skrilla is now an unsigned rapper aiming to pursue a career in music. She has released a mix tape, uploaded videos of her songs onto the internet and performed at gigs in the city.
She said: "As an artist today, I feel obligated to speak to young people about these issues and to make them aware that they are not alone and that there are people and services that can help.
"The campaign is aimed at giving drive and motivation to youths who are going through the same or similar issues that I have been through.
"My message is to make it worth it, whether you want to be a doctor, an athlete, a carer, a teacher or musician."
Her campaign has been supported by mental health charity Rethink.org, Young Black Carers, counselling service Off The Record, community support organisation Positive Cycle, youth and family project Full Circle and alcohol and drugs charity Hawks1.org.
During her school visits, Skrilla talks about her campaign, performs a song called Make It Worth It, and answers questions from pupils.
Of her time speaking to children at Fairfield School, the former St George School pupil, who lives in St Paul's, said: "It's going great. I couldn't have asked for a better reception from the kids. The teachers are engaging with what I'm trying to put across."
Tim Meehan, assistant head teacher at Fairfield, said: "We find increasingly that children from all backgrounds struggle with what's going on around them and trying to make sense of it. They don't always get support from their family and need to look elsewhere."
Skrilla UGQ will visit Henbury School between July 9 and 13.