My name is Raheila Koser and I am a member of Parent Power Oldham. Parent Power is a community group of parents who meet to discuss issues around promoting higher aspirations for their own children and children across the borough. Parent Power is built on the belief that when people who have similar concerns and aspirations come together, they are more powerful and more likely to create positive change. It is a collaboration between Oldham Opportunity Area, Greater Manchester Higher, Citizens UK, the Women’s Chai Project (Oldham), and Trinity College Cambridge.
Throughout my life I have always passionately believed that education is a vehicle for positive social change in the communities we live in, so when I was invited to be part of Parent Power Oldham I was overjoyed and really excited.
Being part of this group has empowered me so much and also inspired me. Getting together with the group and discussing our worries and concerns as well as our aspirations for the future of our children is comforting as well as inspiring.
Joining Parent Power has also inspired me to pursue my own educational goals. Ever since leaving university 20 years ago I have wanted to complete a teacher training course but haven’t been able to due to a variety of personal circumstances. Being a part of Parent Power Oldham gave me the motivation and drive to finally pursue and complete this dream. The motivation was derived from the group discussions we had in the meetings in which we discussed how we as parents are the primary role models for our children and if our children witness us as their parents pursuing education then they will be inspired by us and more likely to follow, as actions speak louder than words!
Another great feature of the Parent Power Oldham group, and one that gives me great joy, is that people from different cultures and backgrounds are brought together on one platform to voice their opinions and concerns. This promotes greater community cohesion and understanding between Oldham residents who have different cultural backgrounds, allows for negative stereotypes to be broken and friendships to be formed. This is very much needed in Towns such as Oldham to ensure that we never again repeat the mistakes that led to the riots 20 years ago, which unfortunately Oldham is famous for. I personally would like to see many more groups formed similar to Parent Power that bring people together and celebrate the diversity of Oldham. Being part of Parent Power has helped parents like myself overcome the anxiety and isolation that many people suffered from during the pandemic, as we continued our meetings remotely.
Parent Power has given me the opportunity to develop my interpersonal skills and confidence, as I very often get the opportunity to speak in discussions and voice my opinions. Also through Parent Power I have spoken at the ‘Neon awards’ representing the parents of our group, which was an honour as well as a boost to my confidence. I have also been part of a podcast in which we discussed ways in which we as parents can build our children’s resilience and motivate them. I am also being given the wonderful opportunity by GM Higher, to mentor other parents who would like to pursue educational courses but perhaps are lacking in confidence or the knowledge of how to access further education. Mentoring is a role I have always wanted to fulfil and I am really looking forward to the satisfaction I will achieve when I see other parents like myself accessing education and opening doors not only for themselves but their children too.
To conclude, being a member of Parent Power Oldham is a great honour for me and I am very excited about the positive change we can achieve together not only for ourselves but for the whole community of Oldham and for future generations. I believe that through our collective efforts and achievements the future of Oldham will be brighter in which more people will access and pursue education and greater friendship and cohesion will be achieved between the different communities of Oldham.