Standing up: Do I still know what this means?
Well, having been absent from the world pulse for about two years, not only two years of failures and of hiding from the public, but also two years of the continued struggle for survival as a woman, Iam so moved by the theme: standing up, to emerge from my self -styled exile, to try and stand up in the crowd and let my voice out just this once.
I work for the Office of the Ombudsman in my country, one of the so called defenders of human rights by any country’s standards, but whoever thought that human rights offices are immune to human rights violations, rethink your belief. Sometime in 2009, after a series of challenges, I retreated from the public domain, including world pulse. However, after languishing in non-activity for almost a year, I toyed with the idea of pursuing masters in law programme, specialising on the rights of people living with disabilities as I watched the discriminations all around my nine year old son, who lives with multiple physical disabilities. I applied to the Chevening Scholarship programme and was successful to do the programme at the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. I thought the hardest part of this journey was over, but that was just the beginning of a long struggle just to further my education.
When I informed my department about my scholarship, the male leadership went berserk. My immediate supervisors were instructed to make sure that I would not go to school and a request made to the British Government to withdraw the sponsorship. The reason for the refusal, “the exigencies of the services.” I requested to be released on unpaid study leave, though knowing full well as a woman how difficult the year ahead would be. I submitted my resignation, which was also rejected. It became a Catch 22 situation until I gathered enough wits to appeal to the President of our country to allow me to further my education. I will be completing my programme next month but at the back of my mind, I still harbour the feeling that I was being discouraged to further my education, only because Iam a woman. I also know that the battle is not yet over, because I dared to claim my right to education, and victimisation will soon be a well-known trail to me.
LibaMy Story: Standing Up