I am grateful for the peace that I have found here. I was welcomed by non-profit organisations – after every assessment they would stand and hug me tight. Those hugs strengthened my faith and determination in my pursuit of happiness.Debora Kayembe
How did you end up in Scotland?
I came to Scotland from the Democratic Republic of Congo in search of freedom and dignity. Being qualified as both a lawyer and a linguist, I needed to find the right place to develop my skills and talents. I knew the door was open professionally when the Law Society of Scotland received and accepted my application to requalify as a solicitor. As for my profession as a linguist, there was need for my skills and language competency in Scotland.
I survived a difficult divorce after years of domestic abuse and Scotland was the new start that I needed to keep my family safe, healthy and free.
Overall as for Scotland as a nation, it was the prospect of an independent Scotland – I was very excited to be part of it and curious to see how this experience could unfold.
When I reached the border between Scotland and England, I read the welcome banner on the road stating, “Welcome to Scotland, the land of the brave.” I said to myself: “I am one of them, let’s go.”
How do you find life here?
I am grateful for the peace that I have found here. I remember when I first came to Edinburgh, I was welcomed by non-profit organisations which support minorities. I will always remember those supporting black minorities – after every assessment they would stand and hug me tight. Those hugs strengthened my faith and determination in my pursuit of happiness.
Of course, every society has social issues, and Scotland is no exception, but I consider my life in this land as the place that I have chosen to rebuild my life – and rebuilding a life away from the country you were born, raised, and educated in, so far from your loved ones, is not easy.
In these difficult times, social issues like racism, inequality, xenophobia, Islamophobia seem to be on the rise. I do not see them as a burden but challenges that make us invest more time focusing on these issues in order to build a better world and maintain a thriving society.
That is the very reason that I founded Full Options, a non-profit organisation which invests in peace by promoting human rights, justice, equality and tolerance. We cannot take peace for granted and I will continue standing for these values for the rest of my life.