Nageen Faruqi is a trained accountant and has worked as a management consultant for many years. Nageen gave up working a few years ago as she wanted to spend more time with her teenage children and try new things. That’s when she discovered Mosaic.
One of those things was to get involved with some kind of voluntary work and Nageen then became aware of Mosaic.
On getting involved with mentoring and actually making the connection with Mosaic, she said: “I was drawn to the Mosaic programme for two reasons; the first because I enjoy spending time with children and the second that I myself was an extremely shy child who lacked self-confidence and ambition. I feel I can understand some of the issues the children face.
“I knew I wanted to mentor children for some time but did not know how to go about it. Eventually a friend of mine put me in touch with someone who was already involved with Mosaic and I’ve been involved with them ever since.”
Nageen’s journey with Mosaic first began in September 2014 when she started mentoring on the primary school programme at Elsey School in Wembley.
She recalls: “We were a team of five mentors working with a group of 15 Year 5 girls. As all the mentors were new to Mosaic it was quite a sharp learning curve for all of us but we pulled together as a team and the sessions worked well. The girls were very warm and receptive and it was a pleasure to see them each week and to see them grow and develop in confidence. We were also able to form a good bond with our smaller group.
“It was surprising to learn that even though some of the girls were relatively innocent and lacked exposure, they still had great perception and easily understood complex social issues. I came away thinking how easy it is to underestimate children of this age, especially if they are shy.”
The second school Nageen mentored at was Malorees in Kilburn. Talking about her experiences here, she says: “The situation was very different at Malorees as we only had two mentors with a group of 16 Year 5 and 6 girls. This group was more diverse as some girls had much more exposure than others. We didn’t manage to form many personal relationships as most of the sessions were conducted in a classroom format but I think the programme is so well put together that it can work in either format. The girls were receptive and worked well together.
“I really enjoy being part of the Mosaic community. Everyone is so supportive and there is a very positive vibe to the whole thing.”
Nageen says she has tried to draw upon her own personal experiences from her childhood as well as those as a businesswoman and a mother in order to overcome some of the mentoring challenges she has faced. She said: “The main issue I have tried to help mentees with is to believe in themselves and know they have a great future if they persevere. Also it’s really important to help them understand that some of the problems they face at school may be difficult but they are temporary and may have more to do with other children’s issues rather than their own.”
Nageen believes being able to listen is a key skill that mentors need to have as well as being able to relate to the mentee. On the issue of how she approached this during the process of mentoring young people, she added: “I think the most important thing any mentor can do is listen. I also used to tell the girls about my own experiences and how I eventually found my voice.
Mentoring is a two way process according to Nageen and she believes the rewards for the mentor can be considerable. She said: “Mentoring the girls in life skills has been a great reminder of those lessons for me too. I have learnt that you have to be flexible, jump in when you’re needed and that children have a lot to teach us too. I have felt useful, part of a team and have received huge amounts of gratitude.”
Nageen is glad she discovered Mosaic and is always keen to get involved whenever and wherever she can. Encouraging other likeminded individuals is also important and as a mentor for Mosaic, she is keen to spread the word so that others can step up to meet the challenge.
She said: “Mosaic is an extremely professional organisation and the primary mentoring programme is excellent. I believe this type of interaction and encouragement has the potential to influence the course of a child’s life. I really do feel like I am making a contribution while learning and enjoying myself at the same time. I would wholeheartedly recommend people with the time and the skills to become a mentor get involved with Mosaic so they can see what an impact they can have – and what an impact it can have on them.”
Nageen is always positive with the young girls she comes into contact with and has a strong but straightforward message for young people who are keen to learn something from their mentor: “Even though you may doubt it right now everyone has a talent that can make them a success. The key is to keep working hard, expressing yourself and trying new things until you discover who you are AND It’s OK to be different, it may even help you in the long term.”