Sidra Iftikhar

Engagement Trainee

What is your motivation for working at UpRising?

UpRising has played a recurring role in helping me to figure out my steps over the past few years after leaving university, providing me with a lot of support, motivation, inspiration and connection. I took part in the Fastlaners (now Stand Out) programme in Summer 2020 and a few years prior, the Leadership Programme. In 2020, I also had the chance to work with Uprising to deliver the Our Bright Futures consortium training and I really enjoyed and learnt so much through these experiences! I’m really passionate to give back and support other young people to also experience their potential and really value Uprising as an organisation, as it is underpinned by a strong desire to create social change and equal opportunities for young people through innovative and inclusive methods bridging and diverging across sectors and industries. I think UpRising is amazing!

What were you doing before you worked at UpRising?

I’ve been involved in social activities in the UK and abroad working with young people, migrant and refugee communities and women. I completed my Master’s in Humanitarianism and Conflict Response and then worked with the Icelandic Red Cross, supporting the delivery of Psychosocial Support Activities with young people and women seeking International Protection. A few months after I finished my placement, the pandemic hit and like many young people at the time - I was unemployed for a year. I started volunteering for different organisations in the UK - helping to support migrant women in online ESOL classes with Heart & Parcel and supporting people seeking Asylum, alongside taking part in the Fastlaners Programme and generally trying to keep myself busy with different courses and training programmes, whilst continuing to apply for jobs!

More recently alongside starting my work with Uprising, I’ve been working as a Research Assistant at the University of Manchester on projects related to the impact of COVID-19 on ethnic minority school-aged children and their families and alternative healing practices in Manchester amongst Muslim and migrant communities! I’m also working as a Peer Researcher at the Young Women’s Trust, alongside volunteering as a Trustee at a Library in my area that has turned into a community Arts Centre! I’ve suddenly got a lot of new and very varied experiences on my plate, all at the same time, but I’m enjoying the experience!  

What is one piece of advice you would give your 18 year old self?

Don’t worry about not knowing what you want to do in life. The journey is not going to be linear, there will be ups and downs and periods where you may experience rejection and ‘fail’. Keep pushing yourself to be engaged in new activities and continue being involved in things you are passionate about. The more you experience, the more you will gain awareness of yourself, what you enjoy, build up your skills and meet new people! Reach out to others – your friends, peers, people that inspire you. Most importantly, no experience is ever wasted or a waste of time – everything you do will teach you something, which you can carry on into your life and career!  Everything is connected!