Adult Learner Winner 2012 – Asha Ali

Asha Ali - Adult Learner Winner 2012

A young woman who fled the Somali civil war and arrived in the UK unable to speak English has gone on to win a prestigious regional award for her outstanding educational endeavours at Kensington and Chelsea College.

Asha Ali grew up in Somalia during the height of the civil war and had little access to formal education. At the age of 14 she was forced to flee the country having lost both her parents and arrived in the UK with no qualifications, homeless and unable to communicate in English.

Six years on Asha not only fluently converses with her British friends but has progressed through several courses at the college including Access to Humanities and Social Sciences which has led to her gaining a place at university to study for a Law degree.

Her educational efforts were recently recognised in a glittering Awards Ceremony hosted by NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing Education) to mark the achievements of outstanding adult learners in London.

The prestigious awards were held at the Museum of London and attended by more than 200 people.

Asha said: ‘Education has not only opened my eyes but it has also transformed my life in so many different ways. And because of education I can write you this letter, have the ability to work and to make my childhood dream into a reality. I never dreamt I would have the opportunity to get any education, never mind studying and applying to universities. I feel I am in control of my future now and have gained the confidence to do whatever I set my mind to.’

The ambitious 21-year-old is now determined to use her education, skills and qualifications to develop her interest in human rights work.

She added: ‘My dreams and goals are to become a Human Rights activist because I want to change others’ lives for the better and fight for those who do not have the ability or the education to fight for themselves. Education has opened my eyes and showed me that if I work hard enough not only can I change my own life but I can also change other people’s lives.’

Asha’s tutor Hazel Riley added: ‘Asha has great intellectual curiosity about the world we live in, its history and its future prospects. She is determined to achieve a good education and forge her own path in life. As her study skills and personal tutor, I have been impressed by her passion for learning and the strength of character she has shown throughout her life. The journeys she has made in her life are truly inspiring and I am sure that there are no barriers strong enough to prevent her reaching her goal of a career in law and a life devoted to justice for all.’