An orphan who travelled over 5,000 miles to live in Suffolk before overcoming illness and a language barrier has been shortlisted for a national award.

Kindi Bah, an 18-year-old student, travelled from Guinea, where he is originally from to Suffolk when he was younger.

After arriving in the UK, he was so malnourished that he had to spend around a year in hospital receiving treatment.

He didn't receive an education in his homeland, so he decided to use his recovery time learning English, whilst also gaining knowledge of British culture and maths thanks to the support of Suffolk New College, where he studied.

Ipswich Star: Suzy Haynes with Kindi Bah at the 2023 Suffolk New College student awardsSuzy Haynes with Kindi Bah at the 2023 Suffolk New College student awards (Image: Suffolk New College)

In his second year of college, Kindi passed all his exams, became a student representative, had a 100% attendance record, was involved in a sustainability project, helped other learners settle into the college, used his baking skills as part of a celebratory occasion based around Africa and worked with individuals to support their learning.

As a result, he has been shortlisted for an Association of Colleges Young Student of the Year Award.

Kindi said: "I'm so happy to be shortlisted for the award.

"It would be amazing to win.

"Suffolk New College was the best time in my life.

"I got a lot of help and support from people. It was perfect for me."

Ipswich Star: Kindi Bah has been shortlisted for the awardKindi Bah has been shortlisted for the award (Image: Suffolk New College)

Suffolk New College's deputy principal, Marianne Flack, put Kindi forward for this award.

She said: "We are often humbled by life stories we hear of our young unaccompanied asylum seekers and Kindi's story is no different.

"His life has already been fraught with many challenges, danger and heartache.

"However, he has been able to focus on the future and not the past and in addition to his efforts, he has constantly looked to inspire those around him.

"He is a delightful student. He has a great personality, a positive attitude to learning and a role model for others.

"We are so proud of him and wish him well in this competition."