Rifat Sultana, 18, is a member of the Birmingham-Pakistan Scout development project, a partnership scheme which encourages Asian young people to join a mixed Scout group for one year. The highlight for members is a working trip to Pakistan.
"I wasn't really aware of Scouting until I joined this project. I didn't know it was something I could do. On the trip we gelled to become a very strong group. We're like a little family. Before this I never had English or black friends. Scouting is a way of mixing in. At the end of the day your background doesn't matter if you share experiences.
"I think the Scout Association probably still hasn't got to grips with how to sell itself to Asians. But it's also up to us to find out. Unless we get involved we won't know what it's all about. People respect Scouts because they know you have to help and show others respect. I'm taking my A-levels this year, but I definitely intend to keep Scouting.I love it."
TES september 12 1997 richard lea-hairnews team