Living and learning with Multiple Sclerosis

ZAINAB AND VICE-PRINCIPALESOL Kensington and Chelsea College student Zainab Al-Maryati’s touching words about her educational journey landed her a first place win for a competition asking students how college has changed their life.

Despite having the debilitating condition Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Zainab has gone on to complete her college ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course and is furthering her education to make her dream of studying Biology at university a reality.

The month long competition invited students to write about the impact college has had on their life and how it has changed them. Entries came from students across the college from various courses. Principal Monica Box, and Vice-Principal Amanda Hayes had the hard task of selecting a winner from the wealth of moving and inspiring testimonials.

“When I found out I had won I was so shocked and very surprised. I think I’ll do some shopping at Westfield with the money I won!” said Zainab

Zainab was awarded her £100 prize money from Vice-Principal Hayes during a small ceremony at the college.

Speaking about coping with MS Zainab added; “It made studying hard but I refused to give up. I kept going even when it was very difficult for me because being at the college inspired me. I really like KCC.”

Zainab’s winning entry reads:

“I’ve now completed two terms of ESOL Level 1 and I have integrated into the course and with my classmates very well. I am extremely motivated to succeed. Although I have a long way to go before I achieve my ultimate aim, which is to study biology at university, my progress so far has been remarkable; and the support and hard work from my teachers, together with my effort and motivation, has really paid off.

“My progress in English has been mirrored by my progress in adapting to UK life and to the constant challenges that come with my illness. For example, I recently gained my driving licence. Interestingly, I started coming to class in a wheelchair in Term 1. Then I got a scooter in Term 2 and started to gain independence. Three weeks ago I passed my driving test and now I drive to college on my own. I don’t need my husband to give me a lift every time! I can’t control my illness but I can adapt to it and make the most of the opportunities that the UK is offering me, like getting my driving licence.

“I believe that in life you have to keep moving and evolving. Not moving is not an option for me. The walking stick, the wheelchair, the scooter and now the car are just my ‘helpers’ on this journey, together with Kensington and Chelsea College.

“Coming to college not only helps expand my knowledge of English but also helps with my self-esteem and my relationship with my family. I am really proud of myself and every time I look at the photos that I put on Facebook of all the places I go to with my family, I realise that I am a very strong person even if I have been suffering from multiple sclerosis (MS) since 2004. So, despite my illness, I haven’t given up on life and learning.

“So, has KCC college changed my life? Yes, it has indeed. Thanks to the college I am now a person who feels alive and is full of energy to live and learn. The other day, I learnt the expression ‘you live and learn’. Well, it is literally true in my case.”


Kensington and Chelsea College leads the local learning agenda for adults and young adults in Art and Design, Health and Social Sciences and Management and Professional Development

To find out about our full range of courses and training opportunities, and how we can help you develop your career or business visit, or call 0207 573 5333 for a copy of our latest prospectus

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