Rajmonda is a brilliant young woman from Albania. She came to the UK seeking asylum in 2014, aged just 17 years old, and found herself having to adjust to life in a completely new environment all on her own. This is the story of how Rajmonda broke down every barrier that stood in her way and achieved her goal of completing a university degree in Education.

The first major challenge Rajmonda remembers encountering when she first came to the UK was the language barrier. She recalls that, when she first arrived, she could not speak a word of English or understand anything.

I felt disconnected from the people I was surrounded by and that for me was the worst feeling in the world, as I felt I could not express who I was and nor could I connect with others.

In addition to learning English, Rajmonda had to navigate interviews with the Home Office, the police, and solicitors, as well as arranging hospital appointments, figuring out the UK education system, and joining a new college.

Then, when the time came for Rajmonda to go to university a few years later, she found herself facing yet another obstacle. Because she was an asylum-seeker, she couldn’t access the mainstream funding most British students receive in the UK. This meant that she could not afford to pay her university tuition fees. On top of this, as a single mother, Rajmonda also needed to pay for her travel to university as well as expenses for her young baby.

After working so hard for years to achieve the qualifications she needed to attend university and having finally been accepted into university, Rajmonda felt devastated at the thought that she might not be able to continue with her education.

Even though I wanted to go to university and worked so hard to achieve what I need to go to university, I still felt it will be impossible.

Then, Rajmonda heard about Hope for the Young from an organisation called Breaking Barriers. They helped Rajmonda to fill out the application form for our Grants & Advocacy Programme.

Rajmonda’s application was successful, and she was awarded a grant towards her tuition fees.

This grant has changed my life! If I didn’t receive the grant, most likely I would not have started university and I would have felt miserable.
Rajmonda smiles and poses for a photo with Pamela, our Grants and Advocacy Coordinator. Rajmonda is holding a certificate of achievement.

After receiving a grant from Hope for the Young, Rajmonda received more positive news. The Black Heart Foundation had awarded her a scholarship, which covered the remaining fees for her studies!

Rajmonda tells us that she sees Hope for the Young as her ‘lucky charm’, since it was after being accepted onto our Grants & Advocacy Programme that she received her Black Heart scholarship.

With her funding secured, Rajmonda could now focus on completing her education and moving forwards with her life.

It feels good being settled in the UK now. Most importantly, I feel safe here.
Rajmonda poses between two men in military uniform. She is wearing a graduation cap and robe and holding her degree certificate.

In the summer of 2022, Rajmonda graduated from her degree in Education from Brunel University London. She is now looking to pursue a career in the field of Education, and is excited to put all of the things she’s learnt during her degree to good use.

Although Rajmonda’s time as a Hope for the Young grantee is over, she is keen to stay involved with our programmes.

She hopes to become a Hope for the Young mentor herself soon, to support other young people seeking asylum to access education and achieve their dreams.

During my time at university I have accumulated a lot of knowledge specifically about the education system in the UK and around the world as well as how the society functions and how to contribute positively to it. Knowing these all makes me feel so good.
I feel like education has opened my eyes. It has opened up many opportunities for me, work-wise, and my self-esteem has significantly increased.

We are truly inspired by Rajmonda’s strength, determination, and passion, and would like to thank her for sharing her story with us. We’re so excited to see what she does next!

Rajmonda speaks into a microphone at the Annual Party.

Do you want to support more young people like Rajmonda to access education and achieve their dreams? Click the button below to donate and help us continue our work!

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