Shani stands on stage during a poetry recital at the RNC Celebration of Achievement awards

Shani is from Portland in Dorset and left RNC in 2014, while she was here she studied A Level Art (Ceramics), BTEC  level 3 Certificate in Business, Level 2 Braille


Shani now sells her own work and has started a small ceramics business entitled “Shaniware”.



Shani manages a condition called Fybromyalgia along with her eye conditions, Leber’s Amaurosis and Nystagmus. She happily attended mainstream schools, despite undertaking her GCSE Art exam at home with a hot water bottle and medicinal tablets, but did not have a good experience at mainstream college.

“I was determined I wasn’t going to a residential college but my mobility officer convinced me to try the ‘Have a Go’ weekend at the Royal National College for the Blind (RNC).  I came under duress but loved it from the moment I got here!”


Came to RNC

Shani was initially impressed by the range of courses on offer at RNC. With ambitions to work in her own art studio, Shani identified an A Level course in ceramics, noting that she would not have been able to study this in a mainstream college.


What is the best thing about RNC?

“I enjoy the art room, obviously. I’ve explored new techniques here, which have pushed me out of my comfort zone – coming to RNC has done that for me. I love having my independence, especially my flat and cooking for friends. I’m forever bringing baked goods into art.”


What next?

“I have felt welcomed and supported here and it is where I’ve needed to be to discover myself and the world, to move forward. I’m looking to have my own studio where I can create and sell my art work.”


Advice to others

“You can give up and let the conditions take over your entire life or you can take what you can get from life and make of it what you will. So, to potential and current students I say: make the most of every opportunity; get involved in as much as you can.”


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