They say mums know best – and it’s certainly true for Fatimath Bawa-Allah. It was her mother who convinced her to apply for a place at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) – and she has never looked back.
Since arriving in Leicester to study her Masters in International Business and Human Resource Management, she has thrown herself into university life. Fatimath has become a student ambassador, brand ambassador, volunteered with DMU Local, enjoyed a DMU Global trip and managed to come top of her class as well.
Faitmath, 26, said: “DMU was one of the schools I’d applied for and my mum was very instrumental. She said I should apply for DMU. So I applied, and watched YouTube videos about students at DMU, I read everything I could find about the course.
“It’s the best decision I’ve made and because DMU was my mum’s choice in the first place, I can see how proud she is of me and that just gives me joy.”
Her proud mum and sister will be cheering her on today (Tuesday 21 January) as she collects not only her Master’s degree but also a prize for highest-achieving student in her cohort.
Fatimath arrived at DMU having completed an undergraduate degree in Cotonou, Republic of Benin and done her national service. During that time she was placed in a school and, after seeing how little furniture the children had, she ran a campaign and enlisted companies for support.
Today instead of upturned boxes, pupils have tables and chairs – and Fatimath was presented with a national award for her work. “To me, it was about making a difference to the children,” she said. “I could come in and see them sitting on the floor and they are not going to learn if they are stressed out and uncomfortable.”
Her love of helping others has continued at DMU. She became a student ambassador, helping share her experiences of university through open days, student experience events and giving campus tours. She also volunteered with DMU public engagement team DMU Local on events in Leicester, including a refugee football tournament.
Fatimath shares her advice and experiences with other international students as an applicant relationship manager in DMU’s International Office.
She said: “Everyone calls me DMU ambassador because of how much I talk about DMU! People can see that I’m happy here and I’m at peace.
“I had goals about what I wanted to do when I came here and I’ve achieved every one of them. I think DMU is so enabling for people like me because there is so much support. There’s an urgency to do more, to achieve more.
Fatimath hopes to continue her studies and is applying to do a PhD in gender equality. “My lecturers have been so supportive and encouraging. They push you but in a good way, it’s done because they have confidence in you.”
Posted on Tuesday 21st January 2020