A student from the OU in Wales has received recognition at the Inspire! Awards for his determination and resilience in pursuing his studies through distance learning.
Shafiq Mohammed, from Cardiff, started studying with the OU in 2010 and is due to complete his BA (Hons) Humanities in summer 2017. His goal has always been to improve his job prospects and to build a future for himself and his family. He was nominated for the annual Inspire! Awards by his tutor for his "steely determination" and was Highly Commended at an awards ceremony in Cardiff.
Hosted each year as part of Adult Learners' Week, the Inspire! Awards celebrate the achievements of outstanding learners in Wales who have demonstrated exceptional commitment, drive, and a passion for learning.
Facing a challenge
Growing up, home life was difficult for Shafiq and this impacted his academic achievements. As an adult, he was keen to return to education to improve his employability skills; however, whilst studying and with his wife eight months pregnant, Shafiq and his family were made homeless. Shafiq said:
“This was the most difficult moment of my life. I borrowed money from a friend to move into a flat, which was in poor condition. There was no furniture; there was no fridge. I was in total financial crisis; my wage would come in and everything would go straight out to pay bills.”
"I can build a future for my family"
He spent time studying at the library or reading by a mobile phone light during the nights to save on electricity. Despite his challenges, Shafiq has continued to meet deadlines for his assignments, he said:
I have been on an extremely long and difficult journey but it has all been 100% worthwhile. I have secured a job as an assistant teacher at a local high school and feel like I am finally reaching my dream goal. I feel like everything is finally coming together and I can build a future for both me and my family.
A steely determination
Course Tutor at the OU, Jeremy Wilcock, who nominated Shafiq for his award, said:
“Shafiq has had many highs and lows on his study journey, at times needing to re-assess his likely end point; but he has never lost his amiable demeanour nor his steely determination to improve himself and the lot of his new family, whilst helping the wider community as well. Everyone at the OU is immensely proud of Shafiq’s achievements and know that he will continue to give back to the local community.”
Throughout Adult Learners’ Week the OU in Wales will be out and about for anyone who wants to find out more about studying with the OU.