Flying the nest – and taking Dad with you

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University of Leicester Sociology student brings her father to university

WHILE most students flee to University to escape their parents – one Leicester student has flouted the tradition by taking her father along with her.

Sociology student Anuya Pai, 21, and her father have lived in adjoining rooms in University Halls of Residence for the past three years.

Anuya’s father, Dr Anand Pai, has suspended his medical career to accompany his daughter, who is a wheelchair user, to the University as her full-time support. 

Anuya’s parents originate from Mangalore in South India, but Anuya has lived in England all her life. 

 “I am happy to be here with Anuya as she pursues her education,” dad Anand said.

“I know how important this is to her and I have always been willing to provide whatever support is necessary in order for my daughter to achieve her ambitions in life.”

Whilst Anuya is in her lectures, Anand runs errands for her, such as fetching her library books for assignments.

“It was quite an unusual request – wanting to bring my Dad with me – but they didn’t seem to see any problem with it,” Anuya said.

“The accommodation has an adjoining room so if I need my Dad for anything in the middle of the night, I can call him easily. This wasn’t available in other universities where carers are off-campus in other accommodation. But the University of Leicester has accommodated for him well, as well as for me.”

The University is one of the country’s leading academic institutions in supporting disabled students – and it’s been given top marks by Anuya.

“If you need anything, the University is willing to change things. If a room is inaccessible to me, they’ll change the venue of the classes – or if the lift is broken, they’ll move the class to wherever I can get to,” Anuya said.

“I think that’s really important as it means that I don’t feel isolated, as there is such a good support network.”

With her time at the University coming to an end, Anuya is looking to move to America to continue with her studies…and dad Anand is backing her all the way!

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