FROM INMATE TO GRADUATE - By Moses A Selvaraj (Bachelor of Business Administration)

The rougher it is, the tougher you will become!

This was and would be my motto forever. Despite my plan of getting a proper education and becoming successful, my life turned into a nightmare when I was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for an offense, I had committed at the age of 17.  I was out on bail at the time so I could sit for my SPM and continue life as usual. I even enrolled in a college and completed an Association of Business Executives (ABE) diploma. I then landed a job as a sales assistant at a hotel. At the same time, I spent seven years constantly attending court hearings. Life was cool until I was found guilty and sentenced to jail for a decade. Prison inmates could enroll in academic programs through a collaboration between the Prison Department and OUM. I started my first semester in September 2012 and completed my studies by the end of September last year. It was a great turning point because I celebrated the 21st OUM Convocation as a free man with family and friends, who are my pillars of success, not only did they accept me, but they also supported and believed in me before and after my prison life. I would like the public to also accept us and give us another chance to prove ourselves.

It was not easy for us to pursue our education in prison. We had limited internet access of up to six hours per week. To top it off, resources like books, materials, magazines, and articles were fully controlled, monitored, and limited. We did not even have a proper study area. About 8 to 12 of us have to share a room and there is only one light available to accommodate us. However, all these did not stop me from pursuing my degree. Ten years of prison life has taught me not to take things for granted. I am now wiser and more independent. And I take rough terrain as a challenge to overcome obstacles.

Now that I am out, I have started a career as a life planner with an insurance company. Jobs are hard to come by with my kind of background, but I believe we can score in any field if we have the wall. My next goal is to establish my own company in home interior design. I have been working on it for the past eight months. I am also planning to continue my Masters with OUM by next year if all is well.

I am not hiding my past as I feel it is better to be open and inspire others by showing what prisoners can achieve with support from loved ones. Where there is a will, there is a way. And I want my story to be known to others.

The story is taken from Catholic Prison Fellowship Association (CPFA) Client.