A 51 year old community activist has proven that it is never too late to follow your passion. Ashraf Cassiem this week attended orientation at UCT, after being accepted, and securing the funds to register, in order to realise his dream of becoming a lawyer.
Cassiem’s journey has not been an easy one. In 2000 he was evicted from his home. This inspired him to start the Anti-Eviction Campaign, an organisation which over the years has helped numerous communities and residents to fight their own evictions, as vulnerable people usually struggle to access the law.
In his capacity as Legal Co-Ordinator for the Anti-Eviction Campaign, Cassiem says this next step, to study law, will assist him greatly in helping even more people.
“People are still being evicted, almost 20 years later, and they are not being assisted by attorneys in our communities because they cannot afford the large amounts of deposits and money that is required. So they are essentially being denied access to the law because of their poverty. I’m studying to be able to access the law on behalf of our poorer communities.”
The only thing that has stood in his way has been funding, and unfortunately he been unable to secure a bursary. He is currently appealing to the public for help, to raise funds for his tuition fees.
“I want to thank everyone who has made a donation towards my studies. Especially Romin Khan who raised the money from various people in Germany. This donation has made it possible for me to register for my studies.”
While he admits that studying at his age is something that might seem like an oddity to some, it’s something he’s always wanted to do, and he has some wise words about age and the ability to learn.
“I want to motivate everyone…especially the younger students wasting their time around the corners and joining gangs instead of getting a good education…there is always time, time is not against you. I think I’m living proof, it’s never too late to start learning. Learning can happen every day, from the cradle to the grave.”
If you would like to assist Cassiem contact him on 076 186 1408.