‘I help my mum because I love her’: Young carer, 12, receives award

Young carer Ilyan Benamor, 12, with his mum Laila Chikhaoui. Picture: Ken Mears

Young carer Ilyan Benamor, 12, with his mum Laila Chikhaoui. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

When most 12-year-olds are out with their friends, Ilyan Benamor spends time cooking, cleaning and doing the shopping.

Young carer Ilyan Benamor, 12, with his mum Laila Chikhaoui. Picture: Ken Mears

Young carer Ilyan Benamor, 12, with his mum Laila Chikhaoui. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

And now the Forest Gate youngster has been recognised for his role as a young carer, receiving a certificate at the borough-wide youth awards.

Ilyan’s mum Laila Chikhaoui suffers from neurological disorder dystonia, which means she struggles with her mobility and has been confined to a wheelchair. She also has difficulty with speech.

Laila was in tears as Ilyan was presented with the young carers prize at the Newham Youth Achievement Award ceremony at the town hall in November.

He said: “I was very proud of myself when I won this award. My mum was with me and she had tears in her eyes.

Young carer Ilyan Benamor, 12, with his mum Laila Chikhaoui. Picture: Ken Mears

Young carer Ilyan Benamor, 12, with his mum Laila Chikhaoui. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant


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“It was special because we could do it together and because of her condition she isn’t able to get out much.

“I didn’t really expect this award. I help my mum because I love her and I want to repay all the love that she gives to me.”

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Forest Gate Community School, which also nominated him for Jack Petchey Achievement Award, bought Ilyan a printer so he can print his homework so he can go straight home after school to look after Laila.

He also has session with the school counsellor to help him with any difficulties he may be having.

Ilyan said: “I do have worries because one day if I want to go to university and it is far away from Newham, I would have to leave my mum. It makes me anxious.

“It is really good to have someone to talk to because sometimes things are hard. Having the support of my school makes life a little easier, I am grateful for that.”

Laila, 46, said: “I am so proud of him. It was a very emotional moment for me, I could not help but cry.

“He has always been so responsible, even when he was very little. My friends called him the little Buddha, so wise for one so little.

“He has done so much research on my condition. It can be very hard for him because my condition is a burden.”

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