Mentoring our children is a perspective which has always fascinated me. Especially in the high competitive society we are living in today. As many of you, I’ve been inspired by some people in my life and I would like to give it back to the community. It is my belief that each of us has a profound personal story that should be shared with Camdocs Family Members in particular and children in the UK and abroad in general. This would be fantastic as we aim to empower/inspire the Next Generation to pursue a fruitful career.
GP trainee in Leicester, I previously trained in Internal medicine in Germany. Having left my home country at a young age to a country I did not speak the language, nor understood the culture, I was expected to learn the language, integrate medical school and compete with my peers (German students). My challenge did not end there, I ultimately had to move to the UK. I was not lucky to know any of my compatriot here who could have provided me with some guidance and the much needed insights into the UK medical system -all was new and thus I was once more faced with new challenges. I know many of us have been through this challenging path and have done VERY WELL.
This is one of the reasons that further enhances my belief that our children, children of the diaspora, many of them being born here in this culture, attending school and Universities here have the abiliy to succeed and achieve to the best of their potential
Most of us have been driven by a strong ambition to succeed, having been among the few who were given the opportunity to study in WELL KNOWN UNIVERSITIES. We quickly understood the opportuities that were at our disposal and with our strong work ethics, we managed to do well. I probably need to underline the fact that most of us are or were doted by resilience, partly due to our background, the societal perception that have been previously ingrained in our head – of course this is associated with
cultural identity. some will disagree (and I welcome this) and that is why I highly encourage everyone to speak thier very own own story. I strongly believe that children of the diaspora have a very complex identity, at times none at all!!! How often are they asked: “Where are you from?”, most of the time they will be puzzled by the question. I sincerely believe that it is our responsibility, it is our right to educate, guide and support our children in this very competitive and ambigious society. We must help them, we much support them in every way that we can so that we do not look back and regret. They must -not go through the very same old struggle- we have already faced these struggles. It is therefore our responsibility leaving here,working here, but having been brought up with a Cameroonian Culture (if I may say that)…. to GUIDE them,to INSPIRE them.
1) Visit prestigious universities such as Oxford and Cambridge, the Parliament and some historical places in the UK, Europe and abroad.
2) Organise shadowing sessions with Consultants and Nurses, Accountants, Solicitors, Financial Analysts, and others. as early as at 10 years of age.
3) Write a leaflet/manual on admission criteria of different disciplines (Medicine, law, Engineering, Banking, etc…) as well as extra-curricula activities which will make a difference on their CV (in case A star has not been achieved, or for scholarships in well known schools)
4) Build their portofolio at an early stage, as well as constantly informing on the British education system : public, grammar, private school ,scholarships .This also includes learning other languages (starting with our own cameroonian languages as well as some European/Asian/Arabic languages), play an instrument, be active (sport not only soccer, rugby,golf, tennis). we need to adapt to the culture here as well.
5) Be proud of our origin: organise workshop with cultural events, introduce Cameroonian and black heroes to them, they can look up to. Ask them to run presentations to our annual meeting (it could just be their own experience visiting cameroon, how they felt and their impressions….also experience of a young adults who are born here). This will teach them invaluable skills such as confidence,presentation and working in group.
6) The starting approach could be to organise workshop with children, ask them to express what they think of africa, Cameroon or the background of their parents, what they think about their own future. From there we can slowly build up… organising outdoors trip to meet blacks and other… leaders in leading companies ( I am sure they will be delighted to meet children with great ambitions!!!) We will work to connect with major brands in the UK and organise visit of the companies and meet with some BAME leaders who could inspire them. Eg : JPM morgan, Goldman Sachs, Virgin, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, RBS, Bank of New York Mellon etc….
Some schools may be doing this already but coming from people they know,trust and love, I am convinced our kids will perceive it differently.
7) We should organise reading competition and connect with well know authors to inspire them. We could invite one author to our AGM This will encourage kids to read more books eg : Malorie Blackman….
8) We will organise to have a stand at selected events encouraging children to choose STEM careers.Our children will be invited either to help running the stand or to network , connect with other children.