Halima grew up in London, where she attended Chelsea Academy. With support from The Access Project she has been working hard to achieve the grades she needs to go to university and reach her dreams of studying Comparative Literature and Film and TV Studies at the University of Glasgow

Halima dreams of improving diversity in British film and TV

“Growing up as Somali in such a multicultural place as London I never felt out of place as the people around me looked like me,” Halima told us. “But on TV and in films I didn’t see many people like me and although it is becoming more common to see a woman of colour behind and on our screens there is still a lot to do and I want to be part of that change.”

Gaining the confidence to achieve her dreams

Back in Year 10 Halima joined our programme to be tutored in Chemistry, travelling each week to visit her tutor from Rothschild & Co. “Chemistry was the subject I hated the most but my tutor encouraged me to think of it in a different way as chemistry is all around us.”

“Travelling to my tutorials at Rothschild each week at GCSE really built my confidence and allowed me to see what the work place would be like in the future.”

She took this new found confidence into sixth form as she began to be tutored in English. “Being tutored in English at A level has helped to drive my passion and helped me to focus on my grades and what I can achieve.”

“It surprised me how the pandemic made me more relaxed about my education”

Before the COVID-19 pandemic Halima would put herself under a lot of pressure to achieve at school. Whilst having to take responsibility for her own learning from home she realised that she “shouldn’t add more stress as we are living through a pandemic. I felt like I could give myself more of a break during sixth form and focus on revising when I needed to.”

Halima’s new approach to her studies was facilitated by her tutor, who was there online each week. “Doing tutorials online allowed me to get more from them than before as we could spend the time we needed on topics. During lockdown I knew I had someone else that I could talk to and who was there for moral support.”

Looking to the future 

Thanks to the work Halima put in with The Access Project to improve her confidence and raise her aspirations, she is feeling ready for university in Glasgow in September. “My main aspiration in the future is to focus on improving representation in TV and film and also to continue to get the most out of my love of reading.” 

“Growing up, my sisters and I would also make short films together at home so I want to continue to learn about this area. I want to take forward the skills I learn in my course and ultimately authentically represent the minority experience, because both books and films have the ability to educate an otherwise oblivious audience.”