Mosaic West Midlands, in partnership with Birmingham City University, has hosted the first of this year’s primary school university visits and graduation ceremonies – with 36 girls, their mums, mentors and school staff from Cherry Orchard, St John’s and Wyndcliffe Primary School participating in a stimulating and challenging day.
The schools started their Mosaic primary school mentoring programme back in October 2013, with mentors and staff supporting the girls and their mums over a nine week period, and covering topics such as aspirations, role models, improving communications, the value of education, career pathways, community engagement and raising confidence.
With the support of Lyn Fulford, associate dean (student experience and quality assurance from the Faculty of Education, Law and Social Sciences), and Birmingham City University student ambassadors, Ama, Charlotte, Tamsin, Gerrard, Belise, Sarah and Hannah, the girls, mums, mentors and school staff were treated to an exciting and lively day consisting of a presentation around university life, a tour of the campus covering the student union, the hairdresser, the inspiring library with its vast collection of resources, the court rooms, and a colourful and creative poster making activity.
In the afternoon Annalisa Lockett, west midlands lead regional manager, introduced inspirational speaker and community activist, Salma Yaqoob, who spoke passionately about the role of women in society and the importance of education and pursuing ones dreams, even when challenges are faced. Salma said “I believe passionately that if we are to have peace in society, and in our personal lives, we need to have justice – and for that we need equality. That is why I am proud to support Mosaic’s wonderful work in raising aspirations of young girls and emphasising that their contribution is vital and valued. The message that the world is their oyster is an important one for the girls to hear, and that with hard work their dreams can be realised.” Such was the impact of Salma’s speech that, following their formal graduation, mums and girls alike queued up to request Salma’s autograph on their Mosaic Certificate.
Commenting on the programme, Paul Moore, head teacher at Cherry Orchard Primary, said: “Today has been a very special event; seeing all the girls, mums and mentors together, and observing their reaction to a truly amazing and inspirational speech by Salma Yaqoob has given me a good feeling! Participating in the Mosaic programme has brought very clear benefits to the school community. I have seen girls grow in confidence resulting in two of them taking part in National Takeover day and taking the role of head teacher and deputy head, coming to school dressed in suits with a professional attitude and the ability to speak with clarity and conviction. Other students have gone from being shy to being not afraid to speak their mind, but still retaining politeness and good manners!”
During the course of the day, students and mums reflected on their Mosaic journey, with Laila from Wyndcliffe stating: “I have enjoyed Mosaic and I would love to do it again!” and Maariya from St John’s adding: “The best bits about Mosaic are when I find out all the things I could do in the future and all the steps I could take”.
Cherry Orchard mum, Alexandra, commented: “Mosaic has been a great experience that we have both enjoyed. We have taken so much from it and it has really helped us to know how to achieve more.” Fellow mum Tahira explained: “Every session has been very exciting and fun packed! The mentors have been such wonderful people to work with.” Ruqiyah, a mum from Wyndcliffe, summed up the programme: “I enjoyed the joint sessions the most where I got to understand my daughter more and what she wants to do with her life”.
First time mentor Ruli Khanum, who supported the programme at Wyndcliffe, added: “This is my first time mentoring with Mosaic. I have learnt many new things, and have seen girls mature in confidence over the course of the programme. The day at the university has been wonderful, the speaker refreshing and I feel truly inspired and motivated to carry on with my own personal development and plan to mentor again in Spring at Arden Primary School!”
“Another incredible day kindly supported by Birmingham City University” concluded Annalisa Lockett: “It is truly inspiring seeing the girls and mums spend more quality time together supported by a wonderful team of mentors, school staff, student ambassadors and an awe-inspiring speech by local lady Salma Yaqoob”.
If you would like to mentor on our primary school programme, we are now recruiting female mentors to support delivery in six schools commencing in Spring 2014. For further information or to register your interest please contact Yvonne Palmer, west midlands primary school co-ordinator.