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From Braille Pages to Courtroom Stages: My Barrister Journey

When I think back to my childhood, the memories that stand out the most are the ones where I was immersed in the world of words. I am completely blind, and reading and writing in Braille became second nature to me at a young age. Alongside my passion for Braille, I found joy in singing, playing the piano, crafting poetry, and crafting intricate novels. My favorite subjects in school were English, history, and sociology, sparking various dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up.

As a typical young person, I went through phases of aspiring to be a singer, an author, a journalist, and a historian, but my path ultimately led me to consider law. It's a decision that surprised even me, considering that when I was just three years old, I apparently told my eye doctor that I wanted to be a lawyer. The question lingers - how does a toddler comprehend the concept of a lawyer?

Fast forward to my undergraduate days, and I embarked on a Bachelor of Laws degree, not fully aware of the intricacies of the legal profession in the UK. Little did I know that I wouldn't automatically become a lawyer at the end of this degree. The revelation came during a Tort law lecture when the lecturer casually mentioned the distinctions between solicitors and barristers. This unexpected bombshell prompted me to delve into research to determine which path suited me best.

Amidst this decision-making process, an inspiring speech by Professor Leslie Thomas, a barrister, transformed my aspirations. He laid out five invaluable points that became my guiding principles:

1. Know your driver: Understand your motivation.

2. Write your personal constitution: Define your principles and values.

3. Set ambitious goals: Write them down and commit them to paper.

4. Create a plan: Break down your goals into manageable steps.

5. Never stop until you achieve your goal: Persevere relentlessly.

Professor Thomas's story became a turning point in my journey, and I decided to become a barrister. Little did I know how much those five points would sustain me through the unique challenges I faced in pursuing my career choice.

As a passionate Braille reader, I relied on assistive technology such as the Braille Sense Polaris and BrailleNote Touch Plus to access electronic Braille. However, my journey was fraught with obstacles. Many of my course materials were not provided in compatible formats, rendering electronic resources inaccessible. Printing out hardcopy Braille law books was impractical from both a financial and spatial standpoint.

Despite these setbacks, my determination and the unwavering support of my family allowed me to create an action plan to achieve my childhood dream. Instead of succumbing to frustration, I forged accessible alternatives:

1. I requested my lecturers to read out all slides and describe images and videos.

2. I relied on my peers' notes from textbooks for pre-session tasks.

3. I diligently recorded every lecture and transcribed them verbatim.

4. I crafted comprehensive revision notes for each topic to excel in exams.

My challenging and sometimes disheartening university experience led me to establish Realeyesation, a company focused on promoting Braille literacy, awareness of various types of blindness, the lives of blind individuals, and available assistive technology. I envisioned it as a means to inform and educate, ultimately fostering greater inclusion.

My journey from Braille enthusiast to barrister was far from conventional, but it's a testament to the power of determination, adaptability, and unwavering support. I am proud to say that I became the first person to complete the UK Bar using only Braille and the UK's first black and blind barrister. Through Realeyesation, I hope to continue breaking down barriers, raising awareness, and creating a more inclusive society for all.


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