Monday 27 March 2017

'I studied five hours a day in a one-roomed home' - Anna

15/8/2015 Anna Kern who has just received 575 points in the Leaving Certificate at home in the Knocklisheen Centre in Meelick, Co. Clare 4 kms from Limerick at the desk where she studied which also is used as a food preparation area. Photo Liam Burke/Press 22
15/8/2015 Anna Kern who has just received 575 points in the Leaving Certificate at home in the Knocklisheen Centre in Meelick, Co. Clare 4 kms from Limerick at the desk where she studied which also is used as a food preparation area. Photo Liam Burke/Press 22

Claire McCormack

Anna Kern (19) always knew education could free her from the shackles of living in direct provision.

After scoring 575 points in her Leaving Cert, the aspiring physiotherapist - who doesn't qualify for financial support for university - will be offered a place at the prestigious Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland free of charge tomorrow.

Alternatively, Anna would have to pay €25,000 a year as non-EU international student.

Although Anna says her dreams have finally come true, it has been a long, difficult road for the inspirational teenager.

For the last two years the young asylum-seeker, from the Ukraine, has lived with her mother, Lyudmyla, brother Andriy (13) and sister Olga (10) in a cramped one-roomed home at a direct provision centre in Limerick.

Every evening she studied at a table in the corner for up to five hours.

"We are all in the one room, someone is watching TV, somebody is reading a book and I would be studying. My family helped a lot because they tried to stay quiet," said the Colaiste Nano Nagle student. "The situation was very hard but if you want to do something with your life you have to educate yourself like everyone else - I just want to be able to pay for myself in the future," she said.

Every morning Anna got a bus to Thomond Park on the outskirts of the city and then walked 20 minutes to school.

Marion Cummins, Anna's school principal said universities all over the country expressed interest in her star pupil last week."It's absolutely incredible. She is an extraordinary girl and she deserves it all," she said.

Sunday Independent

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