Rohullah Yakobi fled his native Afghanistan at the age of 12 and after living and working in Pakistan and Iran, came to the UK as a refugee in November 2004. Learning to speak English and adapting to a completely different culture were just two of the many challenges Rohullah faced, but against all the odds he overcame them and in May 2016 submitted the last assignment towards his BA (Hons) degree in politics, philosophy and economics. Rohullah is a passionate advocate of the OU and says that without it he would not be where he is today.
I attended an open day at Wolverhampton University with a view to signing up for a course in which I could learn more about politics. I explained my situation to a very well-informed lady, who told me that as my schooling had been cut short and I therefore had no formal qualifications, the OU was the place for me.
I was able to get funding from the OU, so I signed up for a BA (Hons) degree in politics, philosophy and economics, despite having no idea how to read, write or think critically. I didn’t even know what an essay was and spent countless hours Googling and watching YouTube videos so I could begin preparing myself!
I’ve always had an inquisitive mind, and I chose that particular degree because I wanted to understand the world better. Among other issues, I wanted to try and make sense of why it was my fate to be a child refugee, why women and children from my village were being persecuted by the Taliban, and why there is such inequality in the world.
The complexities of the world were starting to make sense to me and amazingly I passed my first module. In 2010 I became a British citizen and joined the Labour Party.
My first tutor was so welcoming and understanding; she supported me so much and made a lasting impression on me.
I can honestly say that the OU made me who I am today and that without this wonderful organisation I wouldn’t be where I am. The OU makes education accessible to everyone and is part of what makes Britain great. I’d definitely put the OU on a par with the NHS, which has helped me deal with the PTSD I didn’t know I was suffering from when I first came to this country. The OU needs to be spoken about often, because it truly is life-changing.