I Can Perform – Aziza’s story

Campaign poster of Aziza – Large image of Aziza on the right hand side, smiling as she holds onto a microphone. On the left hand side there is the tagline ‘I Can perform’ and a quote from Aziza which says “Performing sets me free, I feel confident and alive – being visually impaired will never hold me back”.

Aziza Temple-Nott rises to the challenges that face her. The 16 year old from Bristol has shaken off her nerves to become the face of The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC)’s national ‘I Can’ campaign. The inspirational campaign challenges stereotypes and celebrates the achievements of people who are visually impaired.

“It felt good to be asked to be part of the campaign,” she said. “It was nerve-wracking because it’s quite a public thing to be involved in and so many people will see me on posters and in the video, but I knew it was too good an opportunity, both for me and the College, to turn it down.”

Theatre is in the blood, according to Aziza. Her mother used to work in it, and Aziza now studies Performing Arts at RNC, alongside English Literature and Psychology. Despite being registered blind with Bi-lateral Coloboma at just three months old, she started her schooling in mainstream, but excelled at reading and writing and moved to a private school.

“I had the option to stay but thought that I needed a change,” explained Aziza. “During the summer of 2014, my retina detached. I needed four operations and couldn’t sit two of my GCSE exams. It was at this point I knew I needed to come to RNC.”

Being able to study Performing Arts means Aziza can gain a qualification in a subject she loves. She has explored many different aspects of her own creativity, including dance, which she had not done before.

“We did a performance for 50 seven year olds, which took me completely out of my comfort zone,” she states. “I was so nervous beforehand, but I got such a buzz from it and can’t wait to perform again!”

This theme of conquering her nerves ran true for Aziza whilst creating her own film for the ‘I Can’ campaign. Her friends wanted to be part of her film and are looking forward to seeing the indie-style video online as Aziza begins fronting the campaign on 9 March.

“I am a bit nervous about my friends seeing it,” she confessed, prior to the film’s launch. “My friends at home don’t really know about it yet, and for my friends at RNC it provides them with ammunition for laughing at me! Despite being nervous, I am glad to have done it, though.”

Aziza’s ‘I Can Perform’ video is available here along with more information about the campaign and her part in it.

Article written by Anika Backhouse, PR, Publications & Outreach Officer at RNC