For most of Subash Jamuna’s life, daily activities like climbing stairs or crossing the street were major challenges.
But neither he nor his family let these difficulties hold him back in any way.
Jamuna has cerebral palsy, a disease that affects his brain and leads to a group of disorders that affect movement, balance and posture.
His latest achievement is to successfully earn a law degree and be admitted to the bar last month, an academic journey that spanned nearly two decades.
Speaking to Sunday Newsday, Jamuna, 38, said he was delighted to enter a new phase in his life as a lawyer and believes the lessons and experiences he has learned have endowed him with the strength and skills to excel.
Born and raised in El Socorro, Jamuna says that despite his condition, he was fortunate that his family treated him like any other person, encouraging him to do chores on his own, sometimes without help. to develop strength.
âMy parents treated me like any other child.
“My dad wouldn’t come and pick me up and carry me up the stairs, sometimes he would encourage me to go up the stairs on my own, so they didn’t hug me.
“They have always challenged me to develop my own independence.”
Jamuna then attended El Socorro Hindu Primary School where he had his first interactions with other children.
While some children may be mean to people who look different, Jamuna said he has had good experiences with his classmates. During his school day, he had to use a walking aid to attend class.
This support from his peers continued throughout high school when he attended St George’s College in Barataria, and his friends encouraged him to be self-reliant.
âEven my friends of form four or five would help me with my satchel or go to the cafeteria a lot, but they also urged me to do it myself.
“They knew they wouldn’t do me any favors if they kept waiting for me, they’d say ‘You know you should try to do it on your own’, and I did.”
The difficulties caused by his condition would not be the only obstacles that Jamuna faced during his high school education, as he also admits to not feeling motivated to study.
Although he enjoyed learning literature, Jamuna said, he preferred to read and learn things at his own pace rather than follow a rigid class schedule, but gradually focused on his homework with encouragement from his parents.
âAs a student, I struggled academically. I struggled to learn. I just wasn’t focused at all when I was 12 or maybe around 17.
“In high school I saw schoolwork as a chore, it wasn’t something I liked, it was before the internet, so I used to visit the school library and read the encyclopedias and learn facts about history etc.
âI got really attached as I got older and saw my peers get high marks. When I got three and four marks on the CXC, that’s when I decided to concentrate.
âMy dad, Bobby Jamuna, never gave up on me. He always saw the potential in me and my mom, Dotsie Jamuna, urged me to go back to school after CXC, which I did. “
After taking a year off, Jamuna enrolled at St Augustine Community College where he resumed his studies from the fourth year and worked his way up the ranks.
After passing his CSEC exams with satisfactory marks, Jamuna took the CAPE exams where he obtained six passes before enrolling in the Academy of Graduate Studies.
He then left the academy in the second year of his LLB and joined the Institute of Law and University Studies (ILAS) where he completed the program.
For a while, Jamuna’s studies went well as he was focused and motivated to earn his law degree until his father’s death in 2006.
“I remembered telling him I wanted to study law and he was very supportive.
“I must have started school about two to three days after her death, so I had to take care of that as well.”
Despite the grief of losing one of his biggest supporters, Jamuna continued to excel by earning an A in Law and continuing his studies for his LLB from the University of London in 2008.
Even with her renewed approach to studying, Jamuna admits her time in the program had its challenges, describing the period as a âroller-coasterâ schedule from 2009 to 2015.
Despite the challenges, Jamuna made no excuses and devoted himself to a strict study schedule that occupied all of his weekends and free time with previous research and exams.
âBetween 8 am and 3 pm I would dig into the previous papers and all afternoon Sunday until late at night.
“Sure, I would take breaks in between, but I was determined to make it happen.”
Sunday Newsday also spoke with ILAS Director Reagan Rowans, who said he was impressed with Jamuna’s strong work ethic, who set an example for other students.
“He never complained about his personal challenges, or his school work.
âHe remained focused and humbly pioneering throughout his studies, even when he experienced setbacks. This handsome human being made so many friends at ILAS, as he often had to spend the day in ‘school while waiting for transport. He engaged in conversations of all kinds, always respectful and modest. “
After finally obtaining his law degree, Jamuna’s journey did not stop there as he enrolled at Hugh Wooding Law School to prepare for his Legal Education Certificate (LEC) where the workload increased by exponentially.
This is where Jamuna’s ability to organize himself came in handy as he was regularly called upon to work in groups, thus honing his time management, coordination and public speaking skills.
Even in the midst of a busy schedule and complicated course materials, Jamuna said he was grateful for the help of his fellow students and the administration in figuring out his situation.
“The school was very helpful. I had extra time for some exams because they understood that my situation was not like everyone else and I am happy that they gave me the opportunity. to do my best. “
Jamuna received his LEC in September and was called to the bar on November 26.
While his father was not alive to see his son’s accomplishments, Jamuna attributes his success to both of his parents who challenged him to pursue his dreams.
With several degrees and certificates under his belt, Jamuna’s college career has been fulfilling, but he maintains that his passion for learning is still very much alive as he hopes to continue learning in this new phase of his life.
âAt this point my direction is just to learn as much as I can.
“I want to work at my own pace and make no mistake, it’s a lot of work. I’ll see what I can offer the company and put as much of what I’ve learned into practice.”
In terms of the acceptance and treatment of people with disabilities by society, says Jamuna, while there has been some progress, there is still a lot of work to be done.
He says that although infrastructure such as ramps instead of stairs and disabled toilets are still largely absent from some buildings.
Outside of these facilities, he said, as attitudes and perceptions of people with disabilities evolve, he maintains that more can be done to enable society to view people with special needs as productive citizens.
For now, Jamuna says he’s taking his career and his life one day at a time, and he’s ready for what may come next.