9 Aug 2018

Learner Spotlight - Joy-Tendai Kangere

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Joy is an adult learner advocate. She was a recent panelist at the AONTAS Advocacy Summer School and has spoken about her experience of adult learning at various high profile events and on the RTÉ Sean O'Rourke Show.

Joy is involved with the UCD Access & Lifelong Learning Centre and was featured in their recent "Pathways Video." Joy also advocates on social issues relating to Human Rights, Social Equality, Inclusivity and Integration. In our latest blog Joy shares her personal experience of the benefits of returning to education. 

"Once a seed is planted, it cannot be removed from the soil. It may lie dormant for many years but when the right conditions prevail it will grow and flourish."

That is my story; I planted my ambition to be a lawyer at the age of six. It has taken me nearly 20 years and a big move from Zimbabwe to Ireland to achieve my childhood dream and attain my law degree at one of Ireland's prestigious Universities. 

To me, it is like tackling Mount Everest and I have dubbed these past four years my ‘EduEverest'. Returning to education when trying to balance family life with two young children initially seemed unattainable but after these four years, I’m still amazed at how I managed it all. It has been a great experience and I would have regretted it had I not tried.

I went through a difficult period in my life where I experienced the loss of my baby and nearly died. It took a long time to recover from this traumatic event and I had to leave my job. Following this I felt like I had been given a second chance in life and I decided I wanted to use my voice for those who are marginalised and cannot speak out for themselves.

Returning to education leads to self-discovery - you will discover things you never knew about yourself. You will learn to take the challenge and fulfil those goals that you were once afraid of. It may seem daunting having to study with people that are younger than you. As a person of African origin and an ethnic minority in Ireland, I was also worried about being accepted in society and my chosen profession. I always remember; I have life experiences behind me, I’ve managed to run a household and keep up a demanding fulltime job. Adult learners can use their skills, know-how and experience to excel in a learning environment.

Joy-Tendai Kangere was elected as one of two adult learners on the AONTAS Board in November 2018. After receiving the prestigious Denham Scholarship, Joy is now training as a Barrister at King’s Inn.

To read more learner stories click here