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Kamaljit

Black and Minority Ethnic Children's Development Officer

Kamaljit

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I'm Kamaljit, I work for Hampshire Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (in short Hampshire EMAS) as a Black and Minority Ethnic Children's Development Officer.

Hampshire EMAS is an education service; we work in partnership with Schools, outside agencies and minority ethnic communities to meet the needs of ethnic minority pupils mainly those at risk of underachieving so they can reach their full potential.

I have been working for Hampshire EMAS for more than 12 years.  My main role is to provide induction and training for bilingual assistants, we have 25 bilingual assistants covering some of the 94 languages in the county.  

I came from India in 1985 initially I stayed with my brother in Leicester, and after marriage I moved to Basingstoke to live with my husband and his family.

Coming to Basingstoke was a big cultural shock for me as there was no social life for the family.  I stayed at home with my children most of the time and I felt really isolated and alienated.  

In1992 when my son started nursery school I thought of finding a part time office job but because I didn’t have any experience I had no luck

The only job I could get was a temporary packing job, found it really difficult to cope with. I lost my self esteem and felt very frustrated. I hesitated to go anywhere, even my to children's school events.

I didn't want to give up so I started helping in my children’s school where I found out about Bilingual Learning Support Service now Hampshire Ethnic Minority Achievement Service.  I still remember that moment when I went for my interview and our team leader, Liz, called me by my first name ‘Kamaljit’, I was so thrilled and felt so valued that she had made an effort to remember my name.  

I was offered a job as a part time bilingual assistant so I had the opportunity to meet many other parents and pupils going through the same situations as me.  The service sponsored me to go for further studies. In 2001 I achieved a first class BA Honors Degree in Professional and Continuing Education.

Since 2000, I have been working as a Bilingual Assistant Manager.  Last year I was offered my new role as a Black & Minority Ethnic Children's Development Officer.

I feel really great to help other people to move on, and I feel that in Hampshire there is still a great need for more and more people from minority ethnic communities to come forward and represent their communities.