Feminist Series — Knocking down barriers
By Yume Tamiya
My encounters with injustice during my childhood became traumatic. However, this experience has equipped me with strong empathy towards others in need, which is what keeps me moving towards ending social inequality and injustice.
I have faced significant obstacles in life. One of them is that I have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Meniere’s disease, although the symptoms of the latter lessened and it doesn’t interfere with my life like it used to. While my invisible disability has significantly disrupted my life, the experience of facing injustice has equipped me with the skills to relate to others in need and has driven me to serve some of the world’s marginalised populations. When I thought I would give up everything as a teenager, the idea of serving others — who may be suffering more than I did — became my will to live. I pictured marginalised people in the darkest corner of the world and thought I would engage in work to protect their rights because I wanted to prevent others from having traumatic experiences like me.
The idea of engaging in international development and human rights further drove me to undertake relevant voluntary work and internships in different countries, including Ghana, and later study these subjects for my undergraduate degree at the University of Sussex, where significant research on international development has been conducted.
Despite not knowing how to speak English properly until the age 18 (I received my education mostly from a public school in Japan) I transitioned to an education system in the UK while expanding my English language skills. At first I struggled to adapt to the new surroundings and British culture while fighting with my anxiety, but now I can call the country my second home due to the support from my friends and mentors there.
My undergraduate work was centred around social justice issues that marginalised groups of people from the Global South encountered, and outside the coursework, I kept writing an academic blog and have written more than 100 posts on various issues. As a result, I won several global undergraduate awards, including the 2019 Global Winner in the Social Sciences: Anthropology and Cultural Studies category at the Global Undergraduate Awards.
Although a disability is defined as a condition that limits your activities, it can’t prevent me from moving forward. At Includovate, I hope to contribute to their work — to the best of my ability — to address the issues and systems that perpetuate inequality and social exclusion for marginalised people.
Yume holds a BA in International Development with International Education from the University of Sussex. She has a passion for writing on issues related to human rights, law, and international development. She has been named the 2019 Global Winner in the Social Sciences: Anthropology and Cultural Studies category at The Global Undergraduate Awards, the world’s largest academic awards programme, for her research on the rights of Palestinian children in the Occupied Territories. She was also Highly Commended for two other pieces on the marginalisation of ethnic and racial minorities and women, emerging among the top 10% of global entries.
With a view to working to promote the rights of marginalised children worldwide, she has undertaken internships at children’s rights organisations in Ghana, Japan, and the UK, where she engaged in youth empowerment, human rights education, child support, and youth homelessness prevention projects.
Includovate is a feminist research incubator that “walks the talk”. Includovate is an Australian social enterprise consisting of a consulting firm and research incubator that designs solutions for gender equality and social inclusion. Its mission is to incubate transformative and inclusive solutions for measuring, studying, and changing discriminatory norms that lead to poverty, inequality, and injustice. To know more about us at Includovate, follow our social media: @includovate, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram.