I Can have a voice – Laura’s story

Laura sits on the floor smiling, as she holds a mega phone in front of her face. The slogan on the left reads ‘I Can have a voice’ and below that there is a quote from Laura which says “Now that I have found my self confidence I feel able to express myself as an individual.”

Laura Eggins, an 18 year old student at The Royal National College for the Blind (RNC), shares how she has found her voice and gained the confidence to be part of the College’s national ‘I Can’ campaign.

Laura attended mainstream schools in her home town of Yelverton, Devon, and made a small, yet close group of friends. “I was very shy in many ways, particularly around new people,” she said. “I found it hard to tell other people that I had a visual impairment because I didn’t know what their reaction would be. Starting at RNC, I didn’t have to worry about that, because everyone is in the same boat, which I found liberating.”

This change in Laura’s confidence has led her to become the face of RNC’s ‘I Can’ campaign, which aims to highlight what students and staff at the College can do and is a direct challenge to the stereotypes that people with visual impairments face. Growing up, Laura did not realise that other pupils could not see in the same way as her and it was not until she was at secondary school that she realised she had a visual impairment and then understood why she had received extra teacher support at primary school.

Laura found making her promotional video for the campaign more nerve-wracking than the photo shoot she took part in. “I have used some pictures of me growing up that I am also using in a presentation I will be giving at a MACS event in May. In the video I describe the photos and am able to demonstrate how I have changed since being at the College.”

The once-shy Laura will be doing a sponsored silence to raise money for the College, which is a charity. She is known around campus to be a chatty, friendly student and wants to prove to staff and friends that she can stay silent for a day. She can be sponsored by following this link.

“I feel that RNC has given me more confidence and has helped me to become a young adult,” said Laura. “I’ve become more independent and have grown in self-esteem. At RNC, I have found my voice.”

To watch Laura’s ‘I Can’ video or to see her poster campaign, please visit Laura’s page.