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Vlogging for awareness: An interview with Eunice Kalanga

ULaw Moorgate student Eunice Kalanga is currently studying the LPC alongside creating content for her YouTube channel, Meeunice, on albinism and living with disabilities. We caught up with Eunice to discuss her studies, accessibility in law and what inspired her to start vlogging.

I decided to study law as it was the only subject I found interesting at the time. I studied biology, chemistry and psychology at A-level but I wanted a change. Law seemed to be the only option where I wasn't afraid I'd get bored along the way. At the time, I talked a lot, so I thought that would be fitting, ironically, after finishing law, I'm not as talkative.

Of all the universities that offered law postgraduate programs, ULaw seemed to be the most dominant so I was naturally drawn to it.

Additionally, the student services team is very good. I felt well cared for from the very start. I already had a law degree, so I thought the LPC would be a good progression and would hopefully give me more options in terms of career paths in the future.

After graduating from the LPC, I'd be interested in going into legal publishing. I like to write, so why not write about the law? I’d also like to become more active with my disability advocacy.

My inspiration to start vlogging came from being so lost when I was younger. I didn't know anything about albinism or much about disability. Adults around me kept throwing those words around but no one took the time to really explain them to me. So after graduating, I built up the confidence to record, edit and publish my first video. My aim is to educate and bring to the surface issues surrounding disability and albinism. Hopefully I can give comfort to someone else who has albinism, show them that there are others like them and they are capable of great things. I also want to show people that just because someone is living with a disability, it doesn't make them any less than their able-bodied counterparts. We don't live our lives cooped up inside and afraid to face the world. You can have a disability and still live a fulfilling life.

Of course I was nervous about sharing my personal experiences online. You're putting yourself out there for people to basically judge you. It's expected. I also had doubts about if anyone would really care about what I had to say. I sometimes think - do I really want to put this out there? This is ongoing; I don't think it will ever go away but I've become better at dealing with it. I remind myself why I chose to start vlogging and the plans and aims I have for the platform I'm trying to build; all these things motivate me.

The best thing about blogging is the creativity. I get to choose what topics I want to talk about and what activities I want to do; how I do it and with who. That's great. I'm also learning new skills along the way, like camera work, lighting and editing. These are things I would never have thought of getting involved with before.  Because of my vision, or lack thereof, I have to think about different ways to make these activities a little easier for myself; so thinking outside the box is important. It's helped me become an even better problem solver and negotiator.

From the little I've seen, read and experienced I don’t think the legal profession is diverse enough. The way the profession is run greatly favours the able-bodied, much like most of society. For example, my experience in chambers showed me that the buildings that house them are not well equipped to accommodate individuals with disabilities who may wish to become barristers. The same thing can be said for courts too.

Training as solicitors, we're often told of the long gruelling hours you are expected to work. That wouldn't be possible for many people with sensory or physical disabilities. If someone is unable to do these, it may affect their career prospects, which isn't fair. Just because someone isn't able to work in the similar way as the majority, doesn't mean they're any less of an effective worker.

All these factors and many others, put off a lot of great talent that the profession would benefit from. If the legal profession took genuine steps towards better diversity and inclusion, it would benefit from more skilled problem solvers, negotiators and communicators. When you have a disability, you have to do these things a lot, so you become very good at building relationships, thinking steps ahead and connecting to others because your comfort and all round survival depends on it.

I’d advise all other students with disabilities who are considering studying law that they can do it. It's going to be challenging but it's not going to be worse than anything you've gone through before. You don't have to be a genius to study law and be successful at it. You just have to work hard and be willing to put in a little bit of extra work than your able-bodied counterparts.

A practical piece of advice - work ahead. Ask questions, don't hesitate. It's about your wellbeing, comfort and happiness first. If you have a query or thought, no matter how small, get in touch with someone. From my experience, the Disability Service at ULaw are great. 

My mum is my inspiration. She's worked so hard to give me a good life and to show me a better way of living with my albinism. She's given me the skills I need to keep moving forward in life. I owe her a lot. I want to make her proud of everything I do. I want to show her that her efforts were not wasted. That I've become the strong, resilient and compassionate human being she's raised me to be.

In the future, I hope to launch my own law journal - something aimed at the layman. Something that's accessible and affordable. A lot of people are afraid of the law, they don't understand it. Maybe it's because of the way the law is sometimes presented. I'd like to change that. I also want to build a big enough platform to make significant changes for people like myself, those living with albinism and disabilities.

 

Follow in Eunice’s footsteps and discover more about studying the LPC.