The right to be treated equally

Imagine having a whole life mapped in front of you and then having it ripped away.

At 15, my friends and I were so excited about the future, leaving school, going to university and starting a career. From a young age, I have always dreamed of studying psychology and forging a career in this area. As I started the application form, I was excited to be beginning this journey. However, as I got further down this path I faced the devastating news that due to my immigration status I would be unable to apply for a student loan and faced fees of up to £26,000. This financial burden meant that I was unable to attend university.

I came to the UK when I was 8 years old and since this time I have considered it as my permanent home. I have family here, I went to school here and have spent the majority of my life here. There is nowhere else where I have closer ties. It seems contradictory to me that I work, pay taxes, contribute to society, yet I am unable to pursue education. This is discrimination. To find out that I am considered as an outsider is shattering. It was so difficult seeing all my friends going to university and knowing that I would not be able to follow them and my dream. When I came across the Let Us Learn campaign, it was comforting and reassuring that I was not in this alone and that there were people who could support me.

The campaign has been a lifeline for me. I have met an incredible and dedicated group of people who have supported me through this difficult time. Not only has it given me hope that I may one day be able to attend university, it has also shown me that with the right tools, knowledge and group of people anything is possible. I now feel inspired that with the right platform I can still achieve my dreams.

PM David Cameron with civil rights leader Nelson Mandela – image from The Sun newspaper.

For me, the only way this issue is going to be resolved is if the law changes. The newly elected government has the opportunity and power to right this wrong. We live in a democracy where everyone should have equal rights. My inability to attend university with my friends is infringing my equal rights. The Let Us Learn campaign and I are calling on David Cameron and his colleagues in government to give those who have contributed to society and are lawfully resident the UK the opportunity to follow their dream.

By anonymous guest blogger, aged 21.