BGMP (Black Girls Mentoring Project)

by Zeynab Aliyu in London, England, United Kingdom

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BGMP actively aims to inspire black girls to aspire and apply to the most selective universities in the UK through mentoring and events.

by Zeynab Aliyu in London, England, United Kingdom

BGMP: Our Story So Far...

Our Founder 

BGMP was founded by Zeynab Aliyu in 2017, a recent Law graduate of the University of Warwick. Zeynab was encouraged to apply to some of the most selective universities in the UK by a few of her older friends but was unsure of many challenges along the way. Eventually, with the help of friends, she received an offer to study Law, her chosen degree subject. Once she accepted the offer, she felt the need to help other young black girls in the position she once found herself in a year before... 

Our Journey 

BGMP is a mentoring scheme aimed at black female students, aged 14-18. We actively aim to inspire young black girls to aspire and apply to the most selective universities in the UK through mentoring & events. Our mentors are black girls who attend/have attended university and are between the ages of 18 and 25. We are currently formed of 175 mentees and 90 mentors and have 20 ambassadors from UK universities who represent BGMP around their campus' and societies. 

Our Events 

Events are an integral part of the work we do as they allow us to effectively interact with our mentee members. We have hosted 3 main events since our birth in 2017. In August 2017, we hosted our inaugural event titled ‘The Black Girl Uni Guide’. This event was aimed at 16-18 year-old black female students aspiring to attend the top universities. We started the event with testimonials from 6 BGMP mentors who reflected on their journey from A level to University. Our personal statement workshop followed shortly after and we spent time reading and editing the students statements, going over the UCAS application and providing exemplary personal statements for the girls to read. After a short break we commenced our exam technique workshop. Here, we discussed the different ways in which we learn and provided some useful tips and tricks. 

As a part of this workshop, we looked at the significance of Russell Group and research intensive universities. To finish the day off, we invited a guest motivational speaker Sia Tondoneh (@IAmMissSia on Twitter), who spoke on the importance of education and pushing yourself to reach new heights. Finally, the event ended with a ‘Results Day Prize Giveaway’ to those who had completed exams. Prior to the event we released a series of tweets via our Twitter page for attendees to enter a prize draw to win a hamper full of goodies, vouchers and a BGMP T-Shirt. The winner was announced on the day. We also created a mini-booklet called ‘The Black Girl Uni Guide’ which attendees could take home. It had all the information covered in the event and information about navigating your way from A level to University. 

In August 2018, we hosted our second event titled ‘In the City’ which was held in Barclays Bank HQ. As a result of the feedback we received from our previous event we began the day with testimonials from 6 BGMP mentors who reflected on their journey from A level to University and held our well-liked personal statement workshop afterwards. After a short break we proceeded with a Q&A panel session from girls pursuing different career paths after university including Law, Banking, Technology and Journalism.

In the research we undertook in 2017, we found that a lot of black girls refrained from applying to the top universities because they lacked confidence. In response to this, we thought it was necessary to conduct a personal branding session at this event. This was followed by a Q&A session with Barclays’ Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion. 

The day ended with a session from a Barclays employee who chose an alternative route to university and went on to become a part of the Barclays apprenticeship programme after her A levels.

In October 2019, we co-hosted our third annual event titled 'Unlocking Success' along with BMEN (Black Male Empowerment Network). We aimed to equip our attendees (both male and female between 14 and 18) with the necessary tools to do succeed both academically and professionally. The event was powered by Osborne Clarke, a multi-national firm with a large international presence. Ray Berg, a Managing Partner at OC introduced our attendees to the firm and delivered a powerful presentation on his journey to Law, touching on his background coming from a working class family.

We hosted many sessions on the day from navigating A-Levels and making the most of university to personal branding and effective networking tips.

Our group wide panel was formed of 4 speakers: Angelica Olawepo, a Law finalist at LSE and academic Youtuber, Jessica O'Logbon, a medical student at Kings College London and also the winner of the NHS 'Make A Difference Award'. Our third panellist, Lanaire Aderemi is a Sociology undergraduate at the University of Warwick and the author of a poetry anthology book called 'Of Ivory and Ink' and finally Busayo Yusuff is an Associate in the Private Equity team at Osborne Clarke. Our attendees found this session most inspiring and full testimonials can be found on our website. 

Our Vision

We want to continue mentoring and hosting our yearly (if not more frequent and nationwide!) events for our members. We believe our members are fully entitled to access the information they receive at our events, so we do not charge them for attendance. We would also love to finish and publish our mini-booklet we created in 2017 (The Black Girl Uni Guide) to help more black girls across the country gain as much access to information as possible.

However, in order for us to continue to do these things and much more, we are in need of your help and support - and any/every small amount you can give matters!

Examples of what you will be contributing to: 

- Venue hire

- Catering 

- Video production 

- Marketing and merchandise 

- Publications 

- Travel and hospitality expenses 

- Training (for mentors)

- Safeguarding measures (e.g. DBS checks)

- Hiring (people) costs

Even if you do not have the capacity to donate, we would really appreciate your support by sharing our Crowdfunder link and remember to tag #BGMPBACKHERBUSINESS on your social media posts! 

You can find us at 

www.blackgirlsmentoringproject.com

Twitter and Instagram: @blackgirlsmp

Thank you, 

BGMP - Black Girls Mentoring Project 

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