University of Huddersfield Business Management student Kiran Firdos is Vice-President of the university’s Business Society. She’s also an occasional volunteer for Inspiring Women Changemakers.
Kiran has a particular focus on ethnic minority students and works with the International Office, Students Union and Erasmus to encourage those students to engage in the Society’s activities.
She says “I am writing to share my passion to help others. As simple as it sounds, the main aim of writing this is to allow others who read this to realise and remind themselves, the last time they helped someone or went the extra mile for a stranger.
I wouldn’t like to list all the campaigns I’ve participated in because it’s not about quantifying the effort, it’s the quality, the time you have put into dedicating yourself that isn’t ‘taught’ as part of the education system.”
Who have you helped?
“I am willing to participate in any voluntary scheme, whether it’s something small as holding a stall to being part of a march for a specific cause. I enjoy helping charity causes, albeit, raising awareness is just as important.
For instance, I held a minute silence to commemorate the atrocities France faced in 2015. If there is nothing in place simply create it yourself. If you see a gap, we should collectively arrange something to raise awareness. There are no limits for kindness. This allowed me to have been accepted on to the WE programme, attending a female empowerment workshop with (late) MP Jo Cox.
Leading on from this, it inspired me to be a part of my Universities BAME scheme which was awarded NUS Black Students Award (Awarded to Huddersfield University). At The Teaching and Learning Conference, I discussed my experiences and raised awareness of the hijab.
This is a great platform to commemorate Maariya Karani, who unfortunately lost the battle to sickle cell anaemia in 2005, to whom my award was associated with for her endeavours. Her spirit to get involved is a quality that resonates with me closely. I was fortunate to have been awarded the Maariya Karani Award for Endeavour in recognition of my efforts to take part in campaigns and outreach.”
“It’s not about measuring your performance in this case, it’s about the emotion- how you feel about being part of change. Prior to this, I’d feel insecure about talking about difficult issues, but the range of event participation has allowed me to build my confidence in raising such issues and tackling inequality.”
What have you learned? Any challenges?
“Regarding such activities, it’s not something your close friends or family initially support you with. Often, you need to take the lead and begin it even without support. What motivated me to remain resilient was the outcome. It is psychologically pleasing to have worked hard on something that will go above and beyond.”
“I would like to take more initiative in the University’s BAME scheme, using the platform and given resources to organise workshops and speaker events on a range of issues prevalent in today’s dynamic society.
To move ahead my biggest learning objective is leadership skills in terms of running an organizing event on my own, I am grateful to have the University’s supportive Student’s Union aid to progress the scheme with the provision of resources.”
What advice, contacts or resources would help?
“Ideally, I would love to get influential speakers involved but as it is difficult to network (due to time constraints of potential speakers). I am still in the process of getting in touch with relevant people to aid the scheme, even if that’s coming in to share their experiences as it gives a realistic ‘world’ perspective to students, as opposed to the literature read in class.”
Why we’re sharing these stories
An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!