A promising lawyer’s commendable feat
Elinore Rema, a second-generation Bangladeshi immigrant, is on her way to becoming the first lawyer in Australia from Bangladesh's Garo community. Elinore has a bachelor's degree in Philosophy from University of New South Wales. She developed a passion for law during the beginning of the Syrian Civil War, as she wanted to make a difference and help refugees from war torn countries find asylum in Australia. Subsequently, she got a diploma in Migration Law at Australian National University, before completing a Juris Doctor (a postgraduate degree) at University of New South Wales.
Her family immigrated to Australia in 1993, when Elinore was just five years old. Leaving the familiarity of her birthplace and coming to a foreign country was tough for Elinore, initially.
Over time, she made good friends, learnt English, and explored different places in Sydney. Her family was determined to provide her with a solid education. "Growing up, my parents worked tirelessly to provide a secure and enriched childhood for me and my sister. One of my fondest memories is getting pizza together as a family on the beach one time, as we watched the sun set," she recalled.
Elinore's maternal grandfather was one of the first Garo individuals to graduate with a college degree. He also pursued a bachelor's in Education, and worked as the headmaster of a boys' high school. Additionally, Elinore's father is the first person in his family to have a tertiary education.
As a migrant, embracing her cultural identity was important to Elinore. "During my formative years, I wanted to be accepted by my peers. I did not want to feel different. After embracing my Bangladeshi Garo heritage, I realised that what makes me different also makes my experience unique," she said.
Moreover, Elinore volunteered at prominent community legal centres in Sydney, including the Refugee Advice and Casework Service, which advocates for the rights of refugees, and people seeking asylum.
She served as a volunteer at the Redfern Legal Centre in their Health and Justice Partnership Program with Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Elinore is truly empowered by her cultural heritage. "We are one of the few remaining matrilineal societies in the world, which is an indication of the central role women play in Garo culture. I want young Garo individuals to know that it is possible to follow your dreams," she concluded.