In the news

12th March 2010 at 00:00

Ramon Mohamed

Who is he?

Ramon Mohamed is a supply teacher in the Sheffield area. After studying architecture he worked as a builder before finishing a PGCE and then a Masters in sports management. He taught at Grafton Primary School in Islington, north London, for 12 years before becoming a sports co-ordinator at several schools in London. He has moved back to Sheffield, where he grew up.

What's so special about him?

"I am working to set up a charity to raise funds to build schools in Afghanistan," Mr Mohamed says. "As a builder and a teacher, I'd like to be involved in building the school and teaching in it afterwards. As I am working in schools and universities in Sheffield, I'd like to drum up their support."

Why Afghanistan?

"I've always been interested in my dual heritage. My father is from Afghanistan. In 2009, I made a New Year's resolution to visit his country. I saw things on television and was intrigued at how Afghans were depicted. I got in touch with WADAN, the Welfare Association for the Development of Afghanistan. It asked me to report on some community-based schools. I filmed about 30 schools last summer and came back humbled by what I saw."

Humbled? Why's that?

"I thought I had mentally prepared myself for the trip but I was shocked by the poverty. The schools were on barren, dusty ground. The children sat on thin straw matting and the classrooms were made of recycled wood, with a straw roof and a small side wall made from stones taken from the hillside. I had an interpreter with me but I knew I could talk to the children through sport. I was so humbled by what I saw I returned determined to do something about it. I've been giving lots of talks and presentations in schools and universities to raise the profile of Afghan schools."

What do his students think?

"They often drawn on American perceptions, they see Afghanis as terrorists. I believe schools should teach the history and culture of Afghanistan. The sixth form at Thetford Grammar School, one of the places where I teach, is keen to support my ideas as well as my charity."

Tell us about the charity...

"I'm in the process of setting it up. It's called Build Schools, Build People, Build a Nation. I have the architecture department at Sheffield University behind me and I am going back there this Easter. We want the community in Afghanistan to be involved, the children to make their own designs of the schools and then we will take these ideas and put them together."

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