This week my Movement Monday is on Suad Kamardeen the creator of the Nigerians of England blog, which aims to share the success stories of Nigerians living in the UK.
Suad is a 20 year old British Nigerian studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham but currently on a placement year at the vehicle manufacturing company BMW Group, in Oxford. While in secondary school, Suad was on the Roll of Honour for being the female with the best GCSE grades.
Continuing on a path of inspiration, she was granted a scholarship for Academic Excellence in her first year of university and awarded a prize by BP for being among the Top 35 students in the First Year exams, with 186 students in the year group. In the same year, she organised a tutoring programme over the summer holiday to help students with the transition from GCSE’s to A-Levels.
Her future ambitions includes building and running an oil refinery in Nigeria and establishing a tuition school/centre in the UK and Nigeria. She also hopes to publish a few books and currently writes regularly on her blog at Rockylifeofamuslimah.
This is someone that I hold dear to my heart and her responses to a few questions below are a must read!
What inspired you to start Nigerians of England?
The purpose of the blog is to share the success stories of Nigerians and enlighten the world about Nigeria. Generally there is a lot of negativity in the media about Nigeria especially in regards to involvement in drug trades and fraud. For example, recently the ex-Prime Minister of the UK David Cameron was recorded saying that Nigeria was “fantastically corrupt.’
Sometime in March during the Discover Islam Week at the University of Birmingham, I had the opportunity to organise “Humans of UoB” which involved sharing the viewpoint of Muslims and Non-Muslims on Islam. This project was hugely successful and it was one of the reasons I was motivated to create the NoE blog.
“Islam and Nigeria play a major role in my life, therefore I feel the need to positively represent my religion and country.”
What do you hope to achieve through the project?
The media has a great influence on how people think especially when the same narrative is repeated and emphasised. The blog connects with Nigerians across the UK and relates the story of how they’ve attained success and difficulties they’ve had to overcome.
“I want people to be able to read these stories and feel motivated and inspired to achieve their goals.”
I hope the stories will be shared worldwide so that the blog can contribute to changing the narrative about Nigeria and Nigerians. I hope that people are able to connect with at least one story in a way that positively impacts on their lives.
What/ who inspires you and why?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. My dad had an amazing job in Nigeria but to move to the UK to provide his children with better opportunities which meant having to start from scratch. I didn’t see him for about 4 years but I felt like we had a great connection/ relationship because he ensured he called every other day. Since arriving in the UK, my dad has always studied, trying to work his way to the top in his accounting career while paying attention to the needs of his family – this alone is an inspiration for me to achieve the best in everything I do. My mum also does an amazing job running the home while she pursues her interest in sewing and her career as a Microbiologist. How she does it all completely amazes me but it’s helped me realise the kind of parent I want to be.
Advice for Muslim Women in General?
Believe in yourself. YOU are capable of achieving whatever you want whether it is being an astronaut, a tennis player, an engineer, anything! We are made to feel like we should be involved in certain fields, sometimes we are told, almost convinced that our place is at home, in the kitchen but I say it is very possible to manage a home and a career such that none of them suffers.
Things will get hard, times will get tough, but there are a lot of Muslim women doing big things, empowering each other (Yasmin Mogahed, Alima Ashfaq, and Zahra Zakariya Abdul-Kareem etc.). Make these women your role model, your source of inspiration.
“Make du’a to Allah to help you, guide you and put in your best/maximum efforts. Hold on tight to the rope of Allah and never let go.”
Visit the Nigerians of England Website by clicking on this link to read some of the inspirational stories that are already posted. You can also follow the page on Facebook and Instagram to keep updated.