Assiya Douglas has been in Norwich for 13 years and works as a home educational tutor for children aged between 12 and 15 teaching English, history and geography and for the last 10 years also organised the Ihsan Summer Project. She also designs and produces silver and pearl jewellery which she has often sold at the African Market. During BHM she also organises the black haircare workshops. She answered a few questions concerning Black History Month.
Question and Answer
- Q: What is your job title?
- I’m a home educational tutor, teaching mainly English.
- Q: What are your responsibilities?
- It is my responsibility to make sure the children have a complete, in-depth knowledge of English. The project work I do with them helps them later on in their further education.
- Q: The best thing about your job?
- Seeing the children striving to achieve and build onwhat they’re being taught and also seeing them grow in confidence and self-esteem.
- Q: Do you think confidence and self-esteem are even more important in this society for children of ethnic minorities?
- I think that confidence is important for all children but in the current client even more so for black children as I have seen from my own experiences that it can be much harder for them to get ahead due to some entrenched negative attitudes in wider society.
- Q: The worst thing about your work?
- When children don’t listen and when a child doesn’t desire to learn in general and has a complete lack of interest. It’s also difficult to work with children when their parents don’t motivate them but leave it all up to you. In fact the behaviour of some parents undermines any progress you may make with some children.
- Q: Favourite place in Norfolk?
- Due to the summer projects we’ve been able to take children to see a lot of places in the county, but I’d have to say my favourites would be Pensthorpe Waterfowl Park & Gardens and Blakeney Point. I started the summer projects to make home education more interesting and I thought it was particularly important for the children to see the places where they’re living and have a chance to interact with children from different backgrounds as part of their education in the broader sense.
- Q: Do you think it’s important for children to know where they’re coming from?
- I think that learning their history gives children a sense of identity and where they’re from in a positive sense. Black History Month is important in teaching them and their parents their history and knowledge that is lacking not just amongst the black community but generally. All our histories are interlinked and it’s very important for children and older people to see that.
- Q: What's the best thing about BHM?
- Black History Month is one of the only times black people and their projects and businesses get brought to the attention of the public and a chance for black and white people to bring their talents together and work together which is sometimes not always possible.
- Q: What have you done for BHM?
- Once again I organised the black haircare workshops which went down really well in past years. I’ll be ensuring my students participate in as many activities as possible.
- Q: How do you think BHM is perceived across Norfolk?
- It is not that widely publicised but I think that in general it is seen as a positive thing, particularly for Britain’s growing multicultural society.
- Q: How would you like to see BHM change in the coming years?
- I would like to see it more widely advertised using local media, radio, newspapers and programmes like BBC Look East. I also think leaflets in schools are a good way of publicising the event so more people can attend and learn and give people more awareness.