Our blog is from the inspirational Nelly Khawaja. If you’re thinking about a fresh start for 2020 here’s a story that will give you heart that, regardless of the obstacles along the way, you too can achieve.
On the 26th November 2019, I was called to the Bar of England and Wales by the Honourable Society of Lincolns Inn. During the ceremony, I gazed in space and embraced my surrounding. I took a moment to myself and thought about my journey.
I emigrated from Norway aged 9 without any prior knowledge of the English language. To avoid the extensive details, I was mistreated and I experienced a distressing upbringing by the hands of my father. As a witness, I felt lost in a system where the legal professionals were unrelatable and at times, condescending. I really thought there was no escape, I convinced myself ‘this is my life now, and it will never end’.
I turned to education and started finding peace in studying. I told myself I will study until I can be that voice for the most vulnerable members of our society! Just reading alone made me feel stronger. It’s true what they say ‘knowledge is power’.
I had many obstacles along the way, and one of the main ones was being questionable of my own abilities. I didn’t achieve the required grades to get into college. I had to do BTEC’s and NVQ’s. My journey to become a barrister started to feel impossible. I started to self-pity and blaming everything around me. That didn’t get me far. As much as I wanted someone to feel sorry for me and help me escape, no one was able to do that except me!
Despite the adversity, I did a year’s access course to get into University. I then completed my three years Law with Criminology degree and graduated in 2018.
Things were starting to look up and life started feeling meaningful. I was getting more independent and I had a better understanding of my rights. Being able to discover that in itself made me feel so much happier! I felt like no one could touch me now!
So, here I am today, having been called to the Bar. It truly is my biggest achievement to date.
I feel the importance to encourage people to stop thinking you can’t do something because of your past. Coming from a broken family or a deprived background doesn’t make you any less capable! Find your determination in the negative things that happen in your life, never allow yourself to relive it!