‘When you are homeless and particularly sleeping rough, many people like to pretend like you’re not there and that they can ignore you and your situation by simply avoiding eye-contact. Those years of my life lead me down a path of physical abuse, mental health problems and not much left to live for.’
From being a child Kat Demarchelier Du-Bois’ dream was to become a lawyer. That wasn’t what her family believed – they saw her as a wife and mother not a career woman. In her heart Kat knew she wanted more, so she faced the choice of either staying with her family and giving up her studies or following her dream.
So at the age of 17 Kat found herself living on the streets or in temporary accommodation. In spite of this she smashed all expectations gaining 6 A-Levels at grades A*- B. Under normal circumstances she’d have gone on to University but she didn’t have the support or the funds.
The years that followed saw Kat suffer severe physical and emotional abuse which left her with PTSD. In 2015 she was re-housed in Manchester and for 9 months, lived in a refuge struggling with the benefits system, often needing to visit the food bank on Oxford road, before getting a job and somewhere to live.
In 2018 she heard about the legal apprenticeships that were being offered by the city’s top firms. Seeing this as her chance to change her future she filled out the application, and today, is working in one of the city’s top firms Addleshaw Goddard and is well on her way to one day being a qualified lawyer.
Kat now sees it as her mission to help others with a past like her own. She is a committee member of OpenAG, the LGBTQ+ network for Addleshaw Goddard and also works tirelessly to set up an initiative in all of the company’s offices across the UK which focuses on mental health and emotional wellbeing. She is acting as a mentor to a young woman at a local college, who has faced personal difficulty during her studies, and is helping her to apply for an apprenticeship.
‘I am going to dedicate the rest of my life to make sure no one faces the difficulties I did in living their dreams’
We’re proud to add Kat to our ranks of Inspiring Young Women.