FROM HOMELESS TEEN TO UG GRADUATE, YOUNG WOMAN REALIZES LIFELONG DREAM

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A young woman is sharing her story with hopes that she may inspire others that despite the harsh and testing trials that life brings, anything is possible with hard work and God.

She is 21 year old Rebekah Mohanram.

Sharing her story with Nightly News, Mohanram said that she was just 17 years old when her family was forced to move out of their Happy Acres, East Coast Demerara home. With no where to turn to, her family ended up living at a church of a family friend. Despite having a shelter over her head, the young woman could not help but feel homeless.

Having just finished her secondary education at North Georgetown Secondary School, Mohanram knew she had to do more for her family. The one way she was sure of getting this done was furthering her studies. As a child she wanted to become a doctor but after being evicted and having that helpless feeling, Rebekah wanted to become a legal practitioner. So, she enrolled at the University of Guyana. The young woman knew this would be hard but did not let that stop her.

Four years later, Mohanram finally graduated the institution with Bachelor’s degree in International Relations.

Touching on her journey she said “It was nothing short of challenges and setbacks but nevertheless I stayed the course and didn’t give in even when I wanted to quit. There were times where I battled with my own self confidence and questioned my own intellect because I told myself everyone else was much more smarter than I was and I wasn’t that good enough because it felt more like a competition than a learning experience at that time. Eventually with time I gradually bit by bit overcame my negative thoughts and pushed myself to finish line.”

She said that despite the constant disappoints at UG, she continued to push herself in anticipation of this big day. “I enrolled in UG in the year 2017, initially I had planned to do the law program, upon registration I found out that I needed Cape to be able to be apart of the program eventhough I was disappointed, I didnt stop there, I figured out another alternative and that was when I registered for the International Relations program. I had no idea what that was or what it was about but I was willing to give it a try.”

And just when she began adapting to her life at UG, the hardships of life came knocking at her door. Mohanram said “In 2018 of February when I was wrongly thrown out of my childhood home, that situation took a toll on me. I was in shock and the whole situation was very much traumatic for me. I was unable to attend my class that day because I was too busy wondering where will I go next to live. I remembered my classmate called me asking me why I’m so late, if I’ll be attending classes and I told her something came up i can’t make it. I couldn’t tell her the truth, I was too ashamed and embarrassed. After that I was so sad and went into a state of depression and anxiety and that’s where I taught it’s best I discontinue attending ug because I’ve lost my only home. However my mother’s friends decided to take us in by them, they had a church and they gaved us a little part to stay for a few months. Because of that situation, I missed a week of class because I couldn’t focus and I was sad and stressed. There were nights i couldn’t sleep because where I was staying was nothing like home for me. During that time of the tragedy, my father’s father was ill and eventually he passed.”

However, due to her parents constant encouragement she pushed through but due to the stress in her life, she ended up failing a course. This was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back- Rebekah was plunged into a state of depression.

The young woman said she was able to pull herself from that dark place through prayers. She found a renewed strength and suddenly things began to turn around. Her family was taken in by a mother’s friend and have been living with them since.

Rebekah grasped opportunities at UG to join the bible club and other faculties club. She said “ not forgetting the late Miss Paulette Paul who gave me many opportunities to showcase my singing talent on the various platforms UG had. I’m very much grateful to her, I know she would’ve been proud.”

Then COVID came. Making the switch was hard but if she could have battled depression and homelessness, adapting to online school was a walk in the park for her.

Now that one chapter in her life is over, the young woman credited her success to “Jesus Christ and to my mom and dad.”

She said “No matter what life throws at you, never give up! You may fall, but dust yourself and get up back. Trust Jesus and have faith, he will see you through always.”

When questioned by this newscast what more could be done for tertiary level students, the graduate said “Those in authority can either subsidize the tuition fees and remove the student loan so that education can become more accessible. Also those in authority can implement or continue the legacy the late L.F.S Burnham started; free education from nursery to tertiary. “

By Amel Griffith

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