In the present situation where many young people are faced with depression due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and loss of loved ones, 28-year-old Christine Balchan of Longdenville, who recently earned her law degree online, is urging people “not to give up…the best is yet to come.”
Balchan, grew up on a farm facing many challenges to go to school from her home at Depot Road.
“I studied for my SEA exams using candles and flambeau as we had no electricity until I reached Form 2 and is presently living without a proper water supply. Helping out in the garden and still completing my homework. After completing secondary school education at Miracle Ministries Pentecostal High School, I completed my first degree at CTS College. While attending this college, I became a young farmer with my parents,” Balchan said.
She added that her parents motivated her and through the many sacrifices ensured that she had everything she needed, “Their love for me made me a better person every day. My brother also supported me.”
While on the farm, her knowledge of farming grew and she observed first hand the treatment meted out to farmers. This is how she said her love for law emerged.
“I wanted to change the structure for farmers. I wanted to help make farmers recognisable, just as a government minister or a person in high positions in society. I believe that we are all equally important. The only difference is we dirty our hands and feet in the soil, we sweat during the day for the love of providing subsidised food for the country.,” Balchan said.
“All jobs are equally as important. The treatment that is received in my village is ridiculous and I wanted to make a change. After which I told my mom and dad and they supported me in all my dreams. My dad was proud and would boast about me becoming a lawyer to fight for the rights of a farmer,” she added.
But tragedy further struck for young Balchan, as her hero, her dad, Glen Balchan passed away suddenly in May from a massive heart attack. Balchan’s entire world came crumbling down.
“My dad was my role model. His humbleness and sacrifices drove me to become successful so that I can make it better for him. I started law school at the Institute of Law and Academic Studies. I got many support from my lecturers and staff at both CTS College and the Institute of Law which I am forever grateful for. Every morning I would wake up to join my family in the garden and chicken farms and loved nothing better than to know one day I am going to make sure I help T&T recognise the hard work my dad and other farmers did to feed the people,” Balchan said.
Earlier this year, Balchan’s village formed a farmers group which was spearheaded by councillor Ryan Rampersad. Balchan was elected to be the President of the group named Depot Road Farmers Association.
“At that point, I was hesitant to take up the position as I had my final exams, however, my aim was to help farmers in any possible way. So I took up the position in which my hero, my dad was really proud of. After some time, with the help of Mr Rampersad and the members of the team, we bought oil sand for the road. One of the many projects that was completed,” she said.
However, due to the pandemic, everything was put on a hold, “After this, my loving father got a massive heart attack on May 10 and passed away. My life was put on hold. I stopped feeling any blood in my veins. I thought it was the end of everything for me. I pushed away everything. Relationships, school and farming. I had exams a few weeks after, I was not prepared to write. Until my mother, who is still in mourning, told me to do it for my dad.”
Balchan did her finals, having to do two more modules in which to complete, “I wrote them and to my surprise on October 20 when I opened my email I passed and completed my degree with the University of London. My dad must be the proudest angel.”
Balchan’s next step is to continue in her journey to help the farmers of her village and the rest of the country, “to encourage young people like myself to know that no matter what comes your way that you can still accomplish your dreams. The best is yet to come.”