Inclusive Education – Story on Ethnicity and Nationality

Equality And Non-Discrimination

GCE strongly affirms that it is and will continue to be the role and responsibility of the State to provide inclusive quality public education, especially to excluded and marginalised communities and persons. It is important that civil society campaigns ensure that inclusive education is realised beyond race, gender and creed.

My Story

I read the article “Beyond the Horizon” and the very first paragraph had a bold statement that said “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are, which nationality you belong to, which sex you are. The world is a place for you to judge your own capabilities” which I disagreed with. I think that’s how we’d hope our society to be; that it aims to be inclusive but in reality, you ought to meet certain criteria before you can even showcase what you’re capable of.

I wish this statement was true but it comes across as an illusion of inclusion or perhaps a shadow we are still chasing. I mean how do you catch a shadow? Every moment of my life, I have to think about who I am and how it affects my chances of becoming someone and where I can be. I am Black African. I am an asylum seeker. I am Catholic and I am a female. To be all that in a society is a lot of hard work and so it does matter who I am. The fact that I am black makes me a “minority”. People touch my hair like I am an alien creature. The world has already concluded where I belong and that’s what hurts the most. I know what I am capable of but do I have the space to express myself to the fullest? I’m afraid not. I have to work extra hard just to gain an acceptance letter from the world.

My nationality did matter when it came to applying for university. You just don’t merit things when you are an ethnic minority. All of a sudden you are reminded that where you are currently living, the country you’ve adopted as your own, the language and culture that has become second nature; all of that still doesn’t classify you as a citizen. All the hard work, dedication to get the grades for higher education has not met an appreciation but a prison to lock down your dreams. I know I sound bitter but have you ever stood in front of the wall of discrimination? The wall of China has got nothing on it and it certainly won’t crumble like the Berlin wall. It sucks the life out of you; thus, you are left feeling incapable. I guess when you make it to the other side as a triumphant you become bitter. You’ve survived but bitterness never fades. Bitter that you were not warned about the opportunity that was not for all. Despite the challenges, education remains my passport for a better tomorrow. It gave me a sense of belonging without any borders to worry about So, I felt empowered to push past any boundaries that came with how I’m identified. All that I’ve been able to achieve has been through my education and it’s made the fight worth it. Whatever the obstacle may be in getting into education; whether it’s primary, high school or university, one thing I know is that knowledge sees no nationality. If you dedicate yourself to learning, to studying, biases of the system would not hold you back from flourishing. It’s your knowledge. Your achievements. Nobody can take it away.

I have made it to the other side and learnt that, though I am capable to become the first female president of DR Congo (where I’m from) or a caring modern languages teacher in Bolton (where I reside), I have to keep fighting for my place in the world. Despite the fact that it’s hard to make a stand in the world without the need to tweak your identity, I have the power to judge my own capabilities. Thanks to my upbringing and education, I know what I am made of. I believe that there is a place in the world, where I can be me, without judgement or hindrance. Until then, I’ll keep fighting.

Diana De Cendres Khasa, age 24

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