On the Undergraduate ParliaMentors (UP) programme, students of diverse faith backgrounds collaborate on a social action and empowerment projects in trios. On 1st March, during World Book Week, one trio gave a presentation at Withington Girls’ School to an audience of 550 girls about educational poverty in Manchester. Andrei Constantin, Muna Abbas, and Yael Collins asked the girls to donate books to less fortunate families in the area, to be distributed by the Wood Street Mission.
During their speech, the trio pointed out that “the English education system is very developed; however there remain a proportion of children who do not have access to basic educational materials such as books. We understand that money is easily misplaced and misused and therefore we support a distribution of books as a long term solution to improving education in the area.”
Vincent Sharples, Head of Religious Studies at Withington Girls School, congratulated the students and said, “The three of you were very impressive speakers and the girls were clearly captivated by what you had to say, both on the importance of education generally and also in how you explained about the reality of the lives of some young people in Manchester.”
Andrei, Muna, and Yael had expected about 100 books to be donated but they were greeted by a staggering 567 books. Muna feels empowered by the project she worked on and said: “This project has taught me how to use my beliefs as a tool to improving not only myself, but the world in which I live.”
Jan O’Connor, Manager of the Wood Street Mission, also thanked the trio for all the hard work they put in to coordinating the generous donation of books. She told the trio, “Your contribution to our work really will make a huge difference to these local families. The families themselves remain very grateful for the help they receive and so it is on their behalf that we thank you for your donation and your continued support.”