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Pushing through adversity to pursue higher education

Amina J’Bari, Social Anthropology student and Kloam Scholarship recipient, faced significant challenges throughout her school years. She describes what led her to study at LSE and the tremendous impact her scholarship has had on her life.

I’ve had to face many difficulties in life from an early age. My father passed away when I was just 15 years old. I lost him during the period I was sitting my GCSE’s, but I wasn’t offered any pastoral support. Two years later, my A-Level exams were disrupted by the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower Fire. My sixth form college moved to portacabins while I was displaced from my own home. All of this had a huge impact on me psychologically. 

Despite all the challenges, I passed my exams and applied to study Social Anthropology at LSE. I was attracted to the distinctiveness of this subject, and intrigued by the fact that anthropology delves into the study of culture and societies, while pushing you to think differently and challenge your core ideologies.

 I was sceptical when I applied for a scholarship at LSE, I didn’t really think I would obtain an award. But a few months later I received an email confirming I had been offered a full scholarship. I remember screaming hysterically! It was a day full of emotions, tears and joy, a moment to rejoice. I shared the delightful news with family members and friends. There was a sense of relief and it felt like a weight off my shoulders. I didn’t have to struggle financially anymore. 

My first year at LSE was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lectures and classes were delivered remotely. This was a tough period for all LSE students and staff, but the second year was far better. In my second year, I’ve been able to visit the old anthropology library, wander around campus, use library services and meet many students, across my cohort and outside of it, in-person. I also signed up for an extra module, Beecken Faith and Leadership. The module is focused on religious imaginations and hosted by the Faith Centre at LSE. I found it very interesting as it gave me the opportunity to experience and listen to people from different faiths and backgrounds. I cannot wait to enter my third year at LSE with no COVID-19 restrictions in place.

The Kloam scholarship has had a tremendous impact on my life; it has removed the financial burdens I faced before. I no longer need to juggle work and studies, and can focus entirely on my learning experience and achieving the best grades possible, so I can pursue my dream of continuing in higher education. The scholarship has also elevated my self-esteem, and I no longer doubt or second guess myself. I don’t look at my disadvantaged background as a negative thing anymore. Rather, this scholarship has encouraged me to strive further and appreciate the struggles I’ve endured throughout my schooling. 

After I graduate from Social Anthropology, I aim to attain a master’s degree in Law and then take on a PhD to further my study of the law and learn the ins and outs of the complex system. Then, I hope to qualify as a solicitor and work in the legal sector.

I am determined to give back to society and support people from low-income backgrounds, single-parent families and refugees, so they, too, can pursue their dreams and achieve their goals – just as I have.

Amina J’Bari, BA Social Anthropology student