After overcoming an abusive arranged marriage to transform her life through education, Roshan Adam was this week awarded a Chancellor’s Scholarship for her consistent contribution to the Edge Hill community.
Roshan, 37, the oldest of four sisters from a migrant family, grew up in a house where marriage and settling down was prioritised over studying and education.
“Things were different when I was growing up. Being subject to a strict parental upbringing, I wasn’t given the opportunity to study or to seek a partner of my choice,” said Roshan. “Consequently, I was cornered into marrying at the age of 19 to a man of my parents’ choice. Without complaint I accepted with the understanding that my parents wanted what’s best for me.
“I lived for three years in a marriage that was abusive from the beginning, and it was one of the most terrible times in my life. The marriage ended in divorce and a lot of the blame was wrongly put on me, so my parents kindly accepted me back into their home.”
Roshan struggled psychologically to move on from her past, and lived with severe stress, fear and vulnerability which played a big part in her accepting the will of her family and agreeing to a second arranged marriage, this time with a man of smart appearance and mannerisms. Roshan thought she had been given a second chance at happiness, until warning signs started to appear.
“I was stricken with that familiar feeling of fear and anxiety once again, but this time it was ten times worse as I suffered abuse in multiple ways,” said Roshan. “As well as dealing with the aftermath of this marriage, I had to cope with my own emotions. As always, my close family members were there to support me but having tested my endurance and resolve like never before, once again the only solution left was a divorce.
“I found being a two-time divorcee in a generally narrow-minded judgemental society a struggle, and contemplated my future, questioning where I went wrong and what I could do to achieve happiness.”
Despite being out of education for 15 years, Roshan decided to grasp the single aspect of her past that she could rectify, and try and achieve her ambitions.
“I’d always had a passion for childcare and working with children. When I got back to London and felt confident enough, I started applying for childcare courses around the country. I wanted an education.
“Although I was offered a place at other Universities, I fell in love with the Edge Hill campus and the helpful nature of the tutors on the course, and I couldn’t wait to start,” said Roshan.
After settling into university life and successfully completing her first year, Roshan’s dark past and recent divorce troubles made a reappearance. She had to make several trips back to London and had to relive past emotions and experiences, which she was scared would erode her potential for a brighter future, however throughout this time she received support from friends and tutors, helping her persevere with her studies and realise that nothing could get in the way of achieving her dream.
In addition to this, in her final year Roshan was encouraged by her friend to undergo some tests which revealed that she is dyslexic. This came as a complete shock, but she didn’t let this hinder her studies.
Roshan was nominated for the Scholarship by the University’s Muslim Chaplain Hikmah Ibrahim for her ongoing dedication to other students who may be struggling or need a hand.
“Roshan works with students who struggle with their course work and studies, often sacrificing her own free time to support and encourage others, and in spite of needing support herself. She is an example of how people can rebuild their lives and move forward,” Hikmah said.
Roshan said helping others, particularly women, is a great passion of hers and the reason she studies Social Sciences.
“When I see people struggling and going through difficult times, I think of my own experiences. I love counselling and helping people to improve their lives. I tell the women I speak to ‘never give up no matter what life throws at you’ and I think it helps,” Roshan said.
She is now in the process of applying for jobs and thinking about her future.
“I’d love to work for a charity that helps women and children in uncertain circumstances. I want to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.
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