Monday 14 July was the last session of mentoring with Webster School, Jackie Murray, Sarah Logan and myself.
It was the grand event of graduating from the Mosaic mentoring program for girls and Mums, and it all took place at Manchester Metropolitan University.
Four different school groups were present and ready to graduate, travelling from all over Greater Manchester including Fiddler’s Lane Primary from Irlam, Salford.
After arrival and being welcomed to the university each school group separately went to a workshop room and had their last mentoring session.
The focus of the last session was exploring what the girls had learnt from the programme, and we took some time to look at the poetry activity that Sarah had run with them. After editing their poems, the whole group read their poems to each other which was great to hear. The theme was conflict, and there were two themes in the group, one was child soldiers and another was gender:
Battle of the sexes
Boys boys always
Girls girls always
Boys sometimes sexist
Girls sometimes sexist
Please please stop
being sexist stop
– by Oluwashun
Battle of the Gender
Just cause I’m a girl
You won’t leave me alone
You call me weak
but I am strong
– by Nadia Y
Soldiers go off to war
sad and poor
life after death
tears down your cheek
helping us live
whilst they go up high.
We are left alone
day after day
life after life
death after death
and it starts again on my worst nightmare
– by Nada Kulan
We were really proud of the girls’ poems, they were very mature and showed real insight into different struggles. There’s the option to submit their poems to the Portico Brotherton Poetry Prize which Sarah is also mentoring for this year. This competition encourages themes around Conflict and the Community.
Once everyone had read their piece we played a last game where we each shared our favourite part of the program, responses ranged from having the chance to grow in confidence to taking part in the activities. Many of them really enjoyed writing the poems which reflected on what a creative, interesting group they were to work with.
They then got the chance to meet some university students and find out more about what it was like to be a student at MMU, then a campus tour and lunch.
Finally, once their legs were tired out from walking around campus, they got a chance to sit down and listen to the amazing guest speaker, Qaisra Shahraz. She spoke about the importance of balancing family life and work life, and was very inspirational in giving a good example of what hard work can achieve. She spoke about her faith as a source of inspiration and combating negative stereotypes in her work.
Read an interview with Qaisra about her latest novel, Revolt.
During the graduation each girl had her chance to stand with Qaisra and hold up her certificate while everyone applauded. The Mum’s also came to the front and showed their achievement in completing the program; there is also the chance to get accreditation for this course if they have completed the questionnaire that the parent pack concludes with. Once everyone had participated in graduating they all went back to their schools, and we sadly said good bye for now!
Overall, it has been a journey in understanding firstly, how much energy and inspiration there is in working with young people, and also what need there is for confidence enhancing sessions where Mums and girls get a chance to affirm their identities in a positive space.
Working with Webster Primary has been brilliant, and I would definitely work with them again if I am able to mentor in the future!
I’m looking forward to the advanced mentor training in August, and have found Mosaic to be a great charity that provides young people and adults with a context to challenge stereotypes and raise aspirations. Thank you for being a part of my journey!