Story: Fran Belbin
Last edition, we brought you news that local residents Derrick Okrah and Farhan Ahmed were starting up a new society at Sheffield Hallam University's students’ union. Two months on, and SAMEEM has had a successful launch meeting with about 100 students attending.
SAMEEM groups in UK universities are open to all faiths and none. Muslim, Jewish, Christian, agnostic and atheist speakers took the floor at the event – themed “Mercy” – and future events aim to connect those of different religions and views and explore common issues. Ian Maher, the Multi-faith Chaplaincy Coordinator, endorses their approach: “It is encouraging to see them create opportunities for people from different religions to discover more about each other and focus on the positive things shared in common”.
“We're cooking love!” announces Farhan.
From a diverse background like Burngreave, Derrick and Farhan enjoy studying at university with people from around the world. “Our experiences in our first year made us want to understand more where others are coming from.” They have found “massive support” by being active in the students’ union. Farhan was elected International & Black Students Officer in 2009 – Hallam Union's first officer from Burngreave.
The pair, who met at Longley College, both credit Burngreave for their experiences and opportunities. They volunteered at the dementia café, which helped Derrick select his BA Mental Health Nursing course.
“On my first placement, I lacked confidence but getting involved with local activities opened up a new world. It's not easy taking the first step but once you've done it – it comes naturally!”
He can also be heard on Burngreave Community Radio's Friday evening show, “kicking the interfaith vibes!”
Farhan, studying LLB Law, also feels “blessed” to be from Burngreave.
“How many other communities have their own radio station, their own newspaper? And Ozmen's open 24 hours!”
He is still excited about his role representing BME and overseas students at Hallam and encourages other students from Burngreave to contribute their ideas and time, and to consider standing for election.
“We want your knowledge, experience and passion!” he says. “If one person from Burngreave can do it – let the floodgates open!”
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or join the lively Facebook group. Any students interested in becoming a Hallam Union officer can contact Farhan for advice – email@example.com.
You can hear Farhan and Derrick on Burngreave Community Radio every Friday night 12.30am till late, 103.1 FM