Richard – Undergraduate Chemistry at University of Oxford
Fortune – Undergraduate Land Economy at University of Cambridge
“My name is Fortune Isoka-Onwordi, I am from Watford, and I am a First year Land Economy student at the University of Cambridge. From early on I have been a goals-oriented person and so when I decided in sixth form to apply to Cambridge, I was determined to make the dream a reality. Many times, these institutions can seem impenetrable for black and minority students especially those from working-class, single-parent households but I managed to overcome these barriers. However, although some of my achievements were due to my own merit, there is an element of luck that many others in my shoes have not been so fortunate to come across. This brings me to my desire to get involved in social mobility work to help bring around progress for deprived communities, leveraging my access to higher education at a top institution. I am currently a member of the Bank of England Youth economic forum in which I hope to use my voice as a vessel for the youth to express our concerns and hopefully tackle the obstacles and barriers to economic progression faced by many groups in the UK.
One of my goals for 2021, was to obtain a scholarship to relieve some of the financial burdens of university. I heard about the Black Heart Foundation through a friend who was also applying for the scholarship, and they encouraged me to apply. After applying, I somewhat pushed it to the back of my mind. Fast forward now to December 31st 2021, I receive an email on the last day of the year that I had been awarded a scholarship by the foundation and I was elated. Not only myself, but my mother and sister were almost shouting with joy at receipt of this news as they have been key pillars in my journey. So far, the scholarship has greatly helped to reduce the financial burden many of us face at university and has allowed me to focus my efforts on my personal progression. For example, I have been able to get two internships at bulge bracket investment banks. Aside from careers and education, I have been able to get back into hobbies I enjoy such as athletics in which I compete for the University.
When asked what inspires me, I would not say a single person is the main thing that inspires me, but it is an idea of a world shaped by my childhood imagination. When I travelled to Nigeria for the first time, I saw a rich, vibrant culture and a place that I finally felt at home in. However, I also saw a lot of hardship, corruption and overall, a place that had not reached its full potential. Through my studies, I learned the root of these issues many of which are due to exogenous domination. What inspires me is the hope I have for Nigeria and other African countries, and it motivates me to strive to be in a position of the most use to join in on the already ongoing work to help development.
I believe it is very important to inspire others and pour into my community as I have been lucky to have access to higher education which was made possible by factors such as the sixth form, I attended which is near my house which by uncontrollable circumstances the council assigned to my mother after moving out of London. Some people may not be so lucky and continue to be overlooked. In this society, the prestige associated with higher education, unfortunately, allows some voices to be heard louder than others speaking on and complaining about the same issues and so I will use mine to speak up for our community. Also, representation matters, and it was the images and support of those in positions I wanted to be in, that helped me transform my dreams into tangible, attainable goals.”
Jeno – Undergraduate Software Engineering at UWE Bristol
“My name is Jeno, I am a second year BSc Software Engineering for Business student at UWE Bristol. I am originally from Hungary, I moved to the United Kingdom 9 years ago to learn the language and work full-time in the hospitality industry. Once I settled in this new environment, I have started to feel that I would like to invest into my future through going back to education in England. I have been determined to get into an undergraduate course that would allow me to obtain a relevant qualification in a subject that is in-demand by potential employers. I have chosen software engineering as I have an interest in technical subjects and I find software development a truly fascinating field. In order to obtain a place at my current course, I had to complete a two years college programme to gain enough UCAS Tariff points along with completing examinations in Mathematics and English. These two years were challenging as I had to keep my job in hospitality to fund my living cost along with completing a full-time college course. When I secured a place at UWE Bristol, I felt really excited, although I was not sure what to expect regarding the effort I need to invest to pass my exams and gain an appropriate level of learning outcome.
I was also worried that my course will be way too demanding, especially because I did not have prior experience in any practices within software development such as computer programming. I was not sure either about how I will manage to fund my own living costs. I have decided to keep my job in catering and try to cope with the workload from my course. I have successfully completed the foundation year of my course along with spending my evenings in the restaurant where I was working as a waiter. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, my workplace has been forced to close temporarily, therefore I have been able to fully focus on my studying. I have completed year 1, the last academic year with a result of 85% module average along with achieving a place within The Dean’s List of the 2020/2021 academic year as a recognition of being between the top performing students in the Faculty. These achievements certainly exceeded my own expectations that I set for myself in the beginning of my course. I have become even more determined to achieve the best result I can, therefore I have decided to leave my job in catering once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and I will be asked to return to my job. I have started to look for any form of support that would help me to fund my living cost so I will be able to reach my potential in my studies. I have come across the website of The Black Heart Foundation through online search and I have immediately become encouraged to submit my application once I have seen all the stories from the previous BHF scholars. I have been truly hopeful related to this scholarship application as I felt I have managed to describe my personal circumstances as well as my goals and aspirations in my current course. I had a really good feeling about my application to The Black Heart Foundation as it has been clearly presented The Foundation is truly dedicated to its mission of supporting underprivileged individuals to fulfil their potential in education and achieve their life aspirations. I remember receiving the email informing me about my successful application on the evening of the last day of the year, shortly before I started celebrating the new year. I could not believe that I have been awarded a scholarship from The Black Heart Foundation. It is really hard to describe the feeling that I felt when I have read this email. It has seemed unreal The Foundation has chosen me as a worthy candidate for this generous award.
Receiving this scholarship from the Black Heart Foundation meant that I do not have to stress about funding my basic living costs for the remaining time of studying at university. Finally, I am able to focus only on achieving the best results I can in my studies along with gaining an appropriate learning outcome from my course that would allow me to begin my career in software development. I feel immensely grateful to the Foundation for awarding me with this scholarship. As a Black Heart Scholar, I am able to fulfil my potential in education that would hopefully lead to achieving my career aspirations after completing my course. I will be forever grateful for this opportunity. Thank you Black Heart Foundation.”
Asja – Undergraduate Economics at University of Essex
Claudine – Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering at City University of London
Victory – Undergraduate Psychology at Oxford Brooks
“Hello, my name is Victory and I am a second-year psychology student at Oxford Brookes University. I’m Nigerian but I’ve grown up in East London. At the start of my journey, all I knew was that I wanted to work with children in a clinical setting. My options were to complete my psychology degree and do graduate medicine or complete my psychology degree and get a doctorate in clinical psychology. As of now, despite some people’s discouragement, I want to go the doctorate route.
I initially heard about BHF through a friend. I was explaining to them the issues I was facing with SFE and how my rent was becoming hard to pay and he directed me to BHF who had helped him in the past. Receiving the scholarship was the highlight of my year. I remember being in my parent’s house for Christmas break and bursting into their room when I got the news. It has already made a huge difference for me. I was able to cover my rent and food shopping wasn’t a fear of mine anymore.
Covid 19 had affected me in 2 major ways. The first way was at work. During the Peak of Covid, I was working in the hospital as a paediatric healthcare assistant. It was assumed that pediatric workers wouldn’t need to work with covid patients as they were adults. We were wrong. Due to the severity of the pandemic and the shortage of staff, I ended up working on a Covid ward with no previous adult experience. The second way it affected me was in education. I started my first year of university in 2020. As a result, my first year was online and I was unable to socialise. This made my first year an isolating one (no pn intended)
In terms of inspiration, my sister inspires me even though I don’t tell her that often. While I don’t have a favourite of my 5 siblings she’s the most inspirational. Firstly her name is Endurance which is cool enough but she always achieves what she wants. She wanted to run a marathon, she did. She wanted to become an aerospace engineer she has. She wanted to have children even though the doctor said she couldn’t, she has 2. I want to be an inspiration to others the way my sister is to me. I want to be a key advocate for the mental health of children because I truly believe broken children leads to broken adults. Then broken adults lead to broken leadership, rules and a very fractured world.
I’d just like to share something my Grandma used to say before she passed. It was a quote from MLK. She used to say that you can’t stop a bird from flying over your head but you can stop it from making a nest in your hair. Being in university like other years of education is full of challenges. Most of which we can’t stop from happening. We can however control how we react to them or how we let them affect us.”
Moriayo – Undergraduate Land Economy at University of Cambridge
“My name is Moriayo and I am a Land Economy Student at Cambridge University. I heard about the Black Heart Foundation through one of my friends who was a previous scholar and I applied thinking that I had no real chance of receiving the scholarship. Being placed in a college different from the one to which I applied to at Cambridge means that rent levels are higher than I anticipated. Besides this, the short and intense 8-week Cambridge terms limit the ability for one to get a part-time job during term time. This has made maintaining finances quite difficult. I remember feeling a mixture of shock, excitement and gratefulness when I found out that I had received the award. It was in the evening on the last day of the year that I heard the news. Finding out that I had been awarded a scholarship from the Black Heart Foundation was the most amazing end to a year that had otherwise been quite stressful. Receiving support for my journey means an immense amount to me. It feels as though the foundation believes in me, and my ability to achieve my goals. The scholarship has already made a huge difference to my university experience, as I have gone from worrying about which meals I could afford to eat each day, to fully focusing on my academic pursuits.
Being able to give back to my community is something that is really important to me and my long term goal is to go into the construction industry, with a focus on providing affordable homes. My academic journey has taught me to take things one step at a time and that everything will eventually fall into place. I never would have imagined that I could be fortunate enough to receive this funding. The scholarship will go a long way in reducing the financial burden of University and allow me to really focus on my studies for the second half of my degree. I am extremely grateful to have received support from the Black Heart Foundation and genuinely appreciate its efforts in ensuring that education is accessible to all.”