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Saahibah Chowdhury, Insight Project: As-salamu Alaykum, Peace Be Upon You

Insight Project will be publishing a series of blogs over the coming weeks. The first week's blogs focus on the motivations and experiences of its team.

This blog is written by Saahibah Chowdhury, Insight Project Team Lead

Abstract: Project Insight resonates a lot with what I believe in and looks to resolve a lot of issues I witness and experience myself. Find out more about our project’s achievements in creating a fairer society!

As-salamu alaykum

Peace be upon you

As a Muslim Brown woman from a low socio-economic background in a British society, the Insight Project’s initiatives resonated a lot with what I believed in and looked to resolve a lot of issues I witnessed and experienced myself. There is no denying that people from different socio-economic backgrounds, races, genders, religions, and more are subject to different opportunities in life. Starting out as ‘Team Member’ last year, and now ‘Team Leader’, I am very proud of everything we have achieved and continue to achieve in order to do our bit in creating a fairer society.

Joining the University and Pro Bono a year ago, it is no surprise that my experience with the society has changed much since last year. The global pandemic seemed to suggest that Pro Bono would not be able to run at all. I am glad to say that as a society, the Insight Project in particular, managed to pull through.

Being quite introverted myself, Pro Bono has been able to increase my confidence greatly. Applying for Team Leader was something I had not even thought of doing a year ago but pushing myself had not just led me to become Team Leader but allowed me to lead an amazing team through what is one of the most difficult times for us all. I’ve experienced being able to guide and assist my team into creating lesson plans and social media pages, whilst also educating myself and others on important key issues and events impacting young minds.

When the project first started this academic year, I was tasked with working virtually and contacting team members to conduct specific research for Black History Month and create social media posts from it. The technicalities on Microsoft Teams seemed daunting at first but meeting new friendly people within the society made it easier, and everyone was co-operative. We then moved into official teams and were tasked with making lesson plans for students in London who belonged to an underprivileged school. We were also tasked with delivering these lessons and mock trials via Zoom. It was definitely much different compared to last year when we could see students we taught in person, but it definitely helped in terms of adapting to different situations

Challenging, definitely. But we managed to pull through. I developed many skills, team leading and working collaboratively especially, but also other skills such as working virtually in different time zones and being able to take our university level of knowledge and turn it into lessons suitable for younger teenagers.

Working within a team and leading a team helps me especially in the future to be able to transfer these skills within a job role, whether that me within the legal system or not. These are also key experiences to mention in interviews and on my CV. Working virtually demonstrates being able to overcome hurdles and find solutions to problems as opposed to giving up.

Being a part of the society also meant being able to see people, even virtually, and I am so glad I applied and encourage all those who feel worried to apply!

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