Georgia Gill
· Features : UK

University of Cambridge offer place to immigrant who arrived on a lorry

Rabia Nasimi was only five-years-old when she fled for her safety from Afganistan and arrived in the UK with her family.  18 years later Rabia has been accepted to study a PhD at the University of Cambridge.

Rabia, along with her two siblings and parents, travelled to the UK to flee the Taliban terrorist group

When they arrived in the UK, Rabia’s parents founded the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association which provides education to immigrants to the UK.

Rabia's Afghanistani identity is important to her who told the UIC:

"I feel like I have a dual identity. I am able to feel British but equally part of Afghanistan. I speak my mother tongue so whenever I’m back in Afghanistan I am able to act like just a local.

I don’t require any special treatment (armed vehicles, guards etc). Nonetheless I have to say our first visit back in 2006 was quite shocking for me and my sibling, as everything was strikingly differently to the UK.

However, every journey I had, I learnt something, I was open to new experiences. Credit to the UK system which welcomes diversity, respects and tolerates different cultures and provides equal opportunities to all.

I’ve never felt like I need to let go of Afghanistan completely."

Her PhD is centered around research in the field of sociology with a focus on Afghan identity as a member of Lucy Cavendish College.

Prior to Cambridge, she completed her undergraduate degree at Goldsmiths and her Master's at the London School of Economics.

Rabia has been back to Afghanistan ten times with her family, and is keen to work with the UK government to support refugees.

She said:

"Refugees have dreams. Refugees want to live in safety. Refugees want an education. Refugees want to work. They simply want to lead a happy life as does everyone else.

They’ve been driven out of their homeland, they fear persecution, they fear death. We should all try and imagine being amidst conflict and insecurity and think of what we would do?"

She continued:

"I’m sure many people would answer by saying ‘look for safety’ – that’s exactly what refugees do.

British society allowed me to have the opportunities to continue your academic work. My story is an example of how with hard work and persistence you can achieve.

British society has been the enabler of my achievements and my family’s achievements."

This story is shows that anyone can succeed if given the chance.