Thursday, May 25, 2017

UBC student overcomes severe challenges to earn law degree

Here's a heart-warming story about triumph over adversity and friends helping friends.
Back in 2011, Rumana Monzur, a well-educated Bangladeshi woman with a degree from the University of Dhaka, was studying for her Masters in Political Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC). When she travelled back to Bangladesh to see her daughter and to try to finalize her divorce from her husband, said husband viciously attacked her, incensed by her decision to study in Canada. Unbelievably, he gouged out her eyes and bit off part of her nose and forearm, while their five-year-old child looked helplessly on.
Her friends at UBC rallied round her, raising money for her medical treatment and for her return to Canada, along with her daughter. Meanwhile, her husband was arrested and tried, but died of a heart attack while still in police custody.
Despite her blindness, and with the continued help of her friends and some technology, Ms. Monzur persevered with her studies. Some friends read her textbooks out loud to her; others helped her transcribe her Masters thesis. She successfully completed her Masters in Political Science in 2013. But, still not satisfied, she enrolled in UBC's Law School, hoping ultimately to return to Bangladesh and work to change the legal system there, which is very biased against women.
Now, she has just earned her law degree from UBC's Peter A. Allard School of Law. Since her return to Canada, she has been making more and motivational speeches for organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, and she contributed a good one to her law school graduation ceremony, in which she thanked her "UBC family", ending with the inspiring, "I have lost my sight but gained vision".
In September, she begins articling with an international law firm in Vancouver. Her daughter is now 11, and "doing great" according to Mom. Quite a story.

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