Law student Muhammed N’dow had set his sights on moving to De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) because he had heard how diverse the student community was.
But he also knew being able to afford to make the move from the Norfolk seaside town of Great Yarmouth to Leicester was going to be a challenge.
Now, thanks to a Stephen Lawrence Professional Scholarship from DMU, Muhammed has spent three years studying in his adopted city and says the experience has ‘surpassed all expectations’ and made him 'feel a part of something'.
In fact, he has enjoyed his time at DMU so much he plans to return next year to study his Master’s degree.
Muhammed is one of several students to receive the scholarship, set up in honour of Stephen Lawrence by his mother Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the former chancellor of DMU and the founding patron of the university’s Stephen Lawrence Research Centre (SLRC).
The scholarship – originally funded by the Stephen Lawrence Trust - aims to transform the career opportunities of aspiring, talented people from disadvantaged backgrounds with tuition fee reductions and an annual cash bursary.
Initially, the scholarship focused on helping disadvantaged students into careers in architecture – the profession which Stephen wanted to enter. Since then, it has been expanded into other professions including law and journalism.
Muhammed said: “The scholarship made me a bit more worry free. It has also made me more focussed on my course, paid for books and helped me get by in general.
“I am the first in my family to go to university. I never really thought about it until I went to college and decided then that it was something I really wanted to do.
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“After that I had to start thinking about how I could go about affording to go to university. I can definitely say that if it had not been for the scholarship I would not be on the course now.
“The reason why I moved from Great Yarmouth to Leicester and De Montfort University was because I had heard how diverse it was and that the people in Leicester were really nice.
“Coming from an area like Great Yarmouth it was good to know I could move to a city and university that has people from so many different backgrounds.
“DMU has surpassed my expectations. It has made me feel a part of something.”
The university’s connections with the Stephen Lawrence story and his mother Baroness Lawrence, through the Stephen Lawrence Research Centre, has also been source of pride for Muhammed.
He said: “I knew about the Stephen Lawrence story previously but seeing how closely DMU is linked to it shows that DMU cares about making a difference and I really appreciate that.
“Having the Stephen Lawrence story connected to this scholarship is a reminder that you should be able to achieve whatever you set out to do whoever you are.
“His story is a tragedy but his legacy is an inspiration for so many. There is some good coming out of this tragedy and that is important.”
Last week DMU’s Stephen Lawrence Research Centre organised ‘classroom takeovers’ at 16 schools across the city and county to help pupils understand Stephen’s story and to mark the third national Stephen Lawrence Day, which took place on Thursday 22 April.
The centre is home to top academics and a centre for discussion on how to make society fairer for all. You can find out more about the centre and its work at DMU here
Posted on Friday 30th April 2021