This is Amanda, an asylum seeker from Uganda living in the UK. She made history as the first transgender person from Uganda to represent her country in an international beauty pageant called Miss Trans Global. When news of that went viral, her safety at home was compromised and she sought asylum here.
Despite this, she has just graduated from Bath University with a Masters Degree in International Development, Social Justice and Sustainability.
She has been supported by a Care4Calais volunteer called Helen, who has helped her with another course application, clothing, and sourced a guitar for her while she was studying. Helen also helped her to prepare for her graduation – the ceremonies can be nerve-racking for anyone, let alone someone so far from home, so it was great that someone could support Amanda on her big day.
Helen’s help with preparation beforehand included finding someone from the local Care4Calais group to do Amanda’s hair, liaising with a volunteer from West Berkshire Refugees, who called Bath University to ask if they would lend Amanda a free gown, which @uniofbath supplied. The Cowshed, a Reading-based charity that provides clothing and other items for people in Berkshire, also supplied a dress. We can all surely agree that the results looked fabulous!
Helen was there to support Amanda through the day. Everyone who had been involved felt incredibly proud of this woman, whose determination to work hard and contribute to society show up anti-refugee rhetoric for the pernicious lie that it is.
Amanda says she is “really happy for being able to get this accomplishment and would like to contribute to social justice and community development, making the world a better place for the marginalized such as LGBTIQ persons, migrants, and people of colour among other groups.”
She also adds that she wants to “be famous”, which we’re sure she’ll manage. She’s certainly taken a big step towards that goal – congratulations!