Shanae Cooper-Robinson triumphs over adversities
Shanae Cooper-Robinson holds a bachelor’s degree in primary education and a master’s degree in education. Added to that, she is an events planner, certified pastry chef, poet, and, more importantly, she is a child of King Jesus.
After sharing her achievements, Robinson, who hails from Lennox Bigwoods in Westmoreland, relived her hard, challenging journey to get to where she is in her book From the Root To the Fruit: Rising Above Adversities.
She also opened up to Family and Religion about her journey through life thus far. She said the struggles she had to overcome included peer pressure, poverty, financial challenges, emotional and psychological stress and a broken home.
Robinson said she always knew that the only way out of her circumstances was a good education and, through all the challenges life threw at her, she kept that thought in mind.
“Life has given me many sour tamarinds and lime that I used to make tamarind balls and limeade. I don’t know if there is worse for me to experience because I have already gone through extreme life crises. I grew up in a broken single-parent family household. My father was absent from my life, so Mummy had to go to market, as well as work odd jobs to supply the needs of my siblings and me,” she recalled.
Cooper-Robinson and her family were forced to leave their childhood home to live with other family members.
She said it resulted in their suffering psychologically and emotionally from the situation. Life for them, said Cooper-Robinson, was never the same.
“We went to live with Grandma because we didn’t have a choice. While living with her, that was when I felt the full wrath of poverty. She had a one-room board structure home. She had no electricity, used lamp, cooked on wood fire, washed with pond water, and stored drinking water in buckets or drums, etc. I spent one-third of my life at her home,” she said, adding that the unbearable hardship was worsened by the fact that 14 of them shared the one-bedroom structure.
High school saw her struggling to find her true identity and she became part of a crew and drifted from her “usual self”. She lied to fit in, wasted most of her time, and soon became a victim of peer pressure.
“In my final year, I did a lot of reflection and self-assessment, which led me to make a conscious decision. I never wanted to leave the way I came, so I dropped all companies and regained my true sense of self. I remember how poor I was, how hard my mother worked, and that she was relying on me to take us out of poverty,” she shared.
“At different junctures in my life, I faced different types of adversities. Five years after leaving college, I decided that I wanted to upgrade myself to feel a sense of self-actualisation. So I pursued further studies. Two months later, I found out that I was expecting. It was mind-blowing to the point that discouragement said, ‘Give up’; doubt said it could not be done; negativity whispered, ‘Give in’, but I rose above my adversities and triumphed once more. Thanks to a great family support system.
Cooper-Robinson’s ultimate goal is to be the best possible version of herself and to someday have a charitable foundation.