Sameera Rafiq
Credit: Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester Metropolitan University student Sameera Rafiq has been awarded the first Al-Habeeb Scholarship for MA Multimedia Journalism.

Sameera was chosen from a number of excellent applicants.

The scholarship was established in 2013 thanks to the generosity of University graduate Mr Mohammad Habeebullah OBE JP.

Speaking about the award, Sameera said the scholarship has given her a unique opportunity to highlight important issues that might otherwise have been overlooked.

"To become the first Al-Habeeb scholar is a blessing and it has given me the confidence and motivation to represent a voice that otherwise feels marginalised," she explained.

Championing and promoting the issues facing Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities in the UK through journalism is the purpose of the award, so how did Sameera feel she was able to achieve this?

"The course has provided me with the acquired journalistic skillset, which has enabled me to become an advocate for BME communities on various multimedia platforms.

"During my studies I created a blog (www.thegobstoppers.wordpress.com) where I write about various topics on trend. This has received a lot of attention especially with my recent post on the halal meat issue.

"I also volunteer at my local radio station in Rochdale (Crescent Radio), BBC Radio Manchester and Lancashire on the Indus and Desi Beats programme where I am able to pitch and script stories catered for BME communities.

"In addition, I am currently compiling my dissertation, which is a documentary piece on local unsung heroes. The piece has required me to work closely with communities in order to have their stories told. I have also been asked to host the Rochdale Diversity Awards (in front of 300 people) in recognition of the work I have done with the scholarship."

Sameera highly recommends the course, adding: "The most interesting and enjoyable part was the practical elements. The course reflected the real world of work by carrying out vox pops, presenting news programmes, creating websites and writing articles in a constrained time limit."

This practical experience led to Sameera’s proudest moment, which was the showcase of a news programme created as part of the students' assignment.

"I was the anchorwoman for the programme and directed parts of the feature piece which was then displayed to the entire department including BBC presenter, Beccy Meehan who provided me with some promising feedback," Sameera explained.

And what of the future? For Sameera her career goal is to become a TV presenter and travel worldwide reporting on events.

"I would still like to write articles and continue blogging especially on BME related issues," she said. "I am also looking into setting up a YouTube channel discussing weekly news round ups."

MMU’s Journalism Network leader, Mandy Leigh added: "The Al-Habeeb Scholarship has offered a wonderful opportunity for our students and we are very grateful to former MMU graduate Mr Mohammad Habeebullah for his generosity.

"Sameera has been able to use the scholarship to highlight a wide range of issues affecting the BME community and the excellent work she has done in giving individuals a voice is tremendous credit to her.

"I am sure she has an exciting and important career ahead of her as a broadcaster and journalist speaking up for minorities both here and abroad. I have no doubt she will prove to be an inspiration to future students and beneficiaries of this very significant and unique scholarship, which we are delighted to offer again this year."

For 2014 entry

We are delighted to be offering one Al-Habeeb Scholarship for £5,000 for the full-time MA in Multimedia Journalism, in the Faculty of Humanities, Languages and Social Science at Manchester Metropolitan University, for September 2014 entry. See www.mmu.ac.uk/hlss/scholarships for further information.

About the MA Multimedia Journalism (full-time)

Graduates of all disciplines are equipped with knowledge and skills in journalism through intensive practical training and tuition. Designed to meet the requirements of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, the course is taught by dedicated staff with media and industry experience, and strong professional connections. You will benefit from a mandatory work placement providing key networking opportunities, which will also enhance your employability.

About Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University was awarded university status in 1992 and is part of the largest higher education campus in the UK and one of the most extensive education centres in Europe. With a history dating back 150 years, we have a combination of the traditional and the contemporary that sets MMU apart and gives us our distinct character.
Manchester Metropolitan University is the largest campus-based undergraduate university in the UK with a total student population of more than 37,000. Our claim is to be the University for World Class professionals with an emphasis on vocational education and employability.

Our roots in higher education date back to 1824, and we’re committed to a strong future through a £350million investment in our buildings and facilities.

The University was initially developed as a centre of Technology, Art and Design from Manchester Mechanics’ Institution (1824) and Manchester School of Design (1838). Later Schools of Commerce (founded 1889), Education (f. 1878) and Domestic Science (f. 1880) were added along with colleges at Didsbury, Crewe, Alsager and the former Domestic and Trades College (f. 1911), latterly Hollings College. The painter L. S. Lowry attended the art school in the years after the First World War where he was taught by the noted impressionist Adolphe Valette.

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