From Irregular Migrant to Graduate Lawyer: One Woman’s Journey to Success
January 10, 2019
Credits: Samuelle Paul Banga/IPS
Masters of Laws student Khoudia Ndiaye will graduate from Senegal’s University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) next year. The 24-year-old, who specialised in notarial law and dreams of becoming a notary, wants to bring justice closer to local communities like those in her local district of Hann Bel-Air, in Senegal’s capital Dakar, where she rarely sees female lawyers.
While the young, intelligent and dedicated Ndiaye has a bright future ahead of her and speaks with enthusiasm about it, there was a time not too long ago that she never dreamt of becoming so successful. Instead she was living—in fear and subject to racism—in a foreign country.
Ndiaye is a returnee migrant. In 2012, while only 18, and after being enrolled at UCAD’s Faculty of Law for just four months, she was overwhelmed.
Now when she speaks about her reasons for wanting to leave Senegal, she lowers her head and laughs.
“In the first year of law at the university, we were 4,000 students and I underestimated myself because I did not think I had a chance to succeed in this world,” she tells IPS.
She began to look for something else to do with her life. She always wanted to work at a call centre and had been told by her cousin Pape, who was living in Morocco, “that call centre employees are very well paid and well connected.”
Leaving one’s family and daring to go on an adventure without warning is a brave decision—surrealistic even—for a young girl in a deeply-religious society like Senegal. “It was not easy to make such a decision. I did not tell my parents because if they knew about my idea, they would not allow me to leave,” Ndiaye remembers.
Pape put her in contact with the people who would help her migrate without regular papers.
“I financed my trip with my scholarship up to 200.000FCFA which is the equivalent of 348 dollars.”
But on the day of the trip to the “promised land” she realised that she was deceived because she had believed she would fly to Morocco, but instead “ended up taking a bus by force”.
Read more: Africa.com