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Overcoming adversity with help from the New Futures Fund

Chelsea Auma, final year LLB student and New Futures Fund scholar, describes her difficult path to LSE and how being awarded a full scholarship completely transformed her life.

I was born in a small town in Kenya and raised by a single mother, who instilled in me the value of education from an early stage. My mum was the first woman in her village to attend university and the first to venture abroad. She taught me that education is an equaliser and the most powerful tool one can use to overcome adversity, something that no one can ever take from you.

We moved to the UK when I was a child, but challenges with immigration processes left my family struggling to find work. This meant that my education was in a constant state of disruption and flux. Through these challenging times, my hope for the future remained unwavering. And during my weakest moments, I would reflect on the leap of faith my mum had taken to come to the UK for a better life.

My hard work as a student paid off, and I obtained the highest A-level results, but my dream of attending university was short-lived. Despite living in the UK since I was five years old, my student finance application was refused, and I couldn’t afford the high fees needed to attend university.

After taking a year off, I applied again, this time to LSE. Applying to study Law at the School was a shot in the dark. As someone from a humble immigrant working-class background, I wouldn’t be able to live and study in London – which is an expensive city – without receiving financial help.

Opening the LSE acceptance letter remains one of the happiest memories of my life, but nothing compares to the day that I found out that I had received a full scholarship from the New Futures Fund.

I am forever grateful to LSE’s donors for investing in my and other scholars' futures and for believing in people like myself, who are capable, determined and ambitious but lack the financial means to access university education. Their generosity has inspired me to think about how I can help others right now, how to give back to our community when I eventually become a lawyer, and never forget where I come from.