From addict to teacher, man turns life around to help his community

From addict to teacher, man turns life around to help his community

- Tasriek Williams went from a top academic achiever to a drug addict after matric

- Williams was left homeless and a beggar and things got worse when he lost his mother

- Five years ago, Williams pulled himself together and sobered up

- He now dedicates his life towards helping young people

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Tasriek Williams is claiming back the lives of vulnerable youth through art. The 28-year-old spoke to about his struggle with drugs and how he has turned his life around to help others.

Today, Williams works as a drama and poetry teacher at Woodlands Primary School. But, his life was a mess a couple of years back.

Williams was an academic achiever and top athlete at Groenvlei High School. But, in 2008 after he matriculated, things took a turn for the worse when he got caught up with drugs.

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“It was 2009, I was an unemployed young man frustrated by poverty and circumstances. I tried tik with friends and became hooked in that year,” he admits.

Williams revealed his drug-using habits got worse and he ended up getting kicked out of his family home.

"I slept on the streets and stairs in the courts. I begged door to door... the same Tasriek who made his family proud was now down in the gutter," he said.
From addict to teacher, man turns life around to help his community

From addict to teacher, man turns life around to help his community. Photo credit: Tasriek Williams/Facebook.
Source: Facebook

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In 2011, his mother died and her death led to Williams momentarily stopping his drug use. However, he relapsed once again by 2012.

A year later, in 2013, Williams said he saw the light.

“I wasn’t going to let unemployment be the reason for my downfalls, I got up and dusted myself off,” he added.

Five years ago, Williams was awarded a bursary from Hanover Park Ward Councillor Antonio van Reenen to study Sports Management.

He revealed he could not believe his luck and decided to grab onto the opportunity with both hands.

“I couldn’t believe I was given this opportunity, that someone believed in me,” Williams explained.

In 2015, Williams started working at the school as a sports facilitator, but now teaches Drama and Poetry.

Williams revealed his life changed completely and he even converted to Christianity - something his family found difficult to accept.

“I was Muslim and then embraced Christianity, this upset my family but when I prayed for sick relatives and they were healed, my family started accepting me again,” he said.

As for what the future holds, Williams explained he plans on publishing an autobiography called A Coloured Boy’s Dream — Strive Beyond Boundaries. However, he needs funding to make his dream a reality.

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