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Education Award 2015
2009; BA Geography (Honours), King's College London, Grade: 2.1
2006; A-Levels: Geography (B); Design Technology (B); Photograph (B); Psychology (C)
2004; GCSEs: 4 A*, 1 A & 5 B grades
Binda has dedicated her working career to education. Her major achievements are in fair access and diversity through her work at the social enterprise Pure Potential (www.purepotential.org) where she was appointed Managing Director in 2014. Her work has seen the organisation help over a million bright, state-educated students across the UK to achieve their potential and raise their confidence with university applications and entering competitive careers.
Amongst Binda’s accomplishments are her skills in forging new relationships and strengthening existing partnerships with employers, universities and charities. She plays an instrumental part in the establishment and success of key projects, which not only expand the horizons of the young people who benefit, but also create excellent community partnerships across the sector.
UBS & the Bridge Academy. Binda was instrumental in creating and delivering an award-winning programme (http://www.bridgeacademy.hackney.sch.uk/ubs) at the Bridge Academy in Hackney which is supported by UBS. The school is located in one of the most economically disadvantaged parts of Hackney with 65% of students eligible for Pupil Premium and 45% of students for whom English is a second language. Binda and her team were key to supporting sixth form students develop essential life skills, fill knowledge gaps, raise confidence levels and encourage a culture of aspiration where very little previously existed. The Bridge Academy partnership was recognised with a Big Society Award from the UK Prime Minister David Cameron (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ubs-and-bridge-academy-win-big-society-award).
UCL Horizons. The UCL Horizons initiative works with year 11 students from inner-London boroughs to run an academic enrichment programme which encourages students to explore their future pathways. Binda was the driving force behind the partnership between Pure Potential and UCL and has been heavily involved in the delivery of the Saturday morning classes since 2010. UCL Horizons received the London Education Partnership Award in 2012, for its contribution to raising the aspirations of young people to help them achieve their full potential.
Sutton Trust. In 2011, Pure Potential was approached by the Sutton Trust to manage their pilot US Summer School, where 64 students were taken on a tour of leading US institutions, including Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Columbia. Binda was the leading coordinator of the project where she worked closely with the Trust and partner organisations to create the programme, market the opportunity to over 8,000 teachers and manage all logistics. Binda was one of the main coordinators to travel to the US with the 64 students. The results of the pilot were incredibly positive with 20 of the 32 students who applied to US universities successfully secured offers and collectively received over £1.4 million of funding.
Binda inspires those she works with through her positive, can-do attitude and is highly praised by her peers. It is very clear that Binda has become an integral part of Pure Potential, and in her role as Managing Director, she is now looking at ways to grow the organisation to create a lasting legacy, and expand the reach to help thousands of students across the UK, regardless of their ethnicity, gender or socio-economic backgrounds.
Binda is incredibly passionate about education and has worked with young people for over 15 years. She was a youth volunteer since the age of 13 and went on to run a network of youth clubs for young girls aged 6 to 13. Her work at the youth clubs made her realise that there was a huge aspiration and confidence gap between young people from ethnic groups compared to other groups in society. It was this imbalance that became her inspiration to work in education.
Through working at Pure Potential, Binda has been able to positively change the lives of thousands of students through providing quality advice via the website (www.purepotential.org) where she regularly writes engaging and helpful blog posts and articles, she offers face-to-face support to over 6,000 students each year, and is heavily involved in the production of an annual publication, APPLY, which is read by 100,000 students aged 16-18 from 600+ schools and colleges.
The work done by Pure Potential was referenced in the Fair Access to the Professions Report by Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn, Chair of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission. He also goes on to endorse the work of Pure Potential in their 10 Year Report, which is due to be published later this year.
Social mobility is a phrase which is heavily used by employers, government and educational institutes, but very few are actively tackling the issues surrounding fair access. Bringing about change is very difficult in this industry, but one requires determination, hard work and the innate passion to do just this. Through her role at Pure Potential, Binda has been instrumental in generating the ‘joined-up thinking’ between universities, employers, educational institutes and young people, which is essential to tackling the key issues in fair access and diversity.
Binda was presented with a Diana Award in 2004 for her contributions to Connect, a successful anti-bullying scheme and for raising funds for charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Asian Tsunami Appeal. The Diana Award was founded as a legacy to the late Princess of Wales’ belief that young people have the power to change the world. The Diana Award shined a light on the work Binda was doing and provided an excellent stepping stone for Binda to continue her charitable work through offering training, opportunities to develop essential skills and network with other young people across the UK. Binda has been an active ambassador for the Award and has represent the charity at high-profile events, including speaking at 10 Downing Street where she met David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Ed Balls and George Osborne; invited to a lunch with Princes William and Harry ahead of the Diana Concert at Wembley; speaking at the House of Commons; and MC-ing the National Awards Ceremony in London.
Binda is also a trained mentor for their National Training & Mentoring programme, a peer-to-peer scheme where she mentors a young person from a disadvantaged background to take part in educational experiences, skills sessions and a work placement. Her mentee has benefited hugely from having Binda’s support and guidance, particularly given his turbulent home life and difficulties at school. He went on to complete his GCSE examinations in 2014 where he achieved outstanding results, and is now working towards his A Level examinations to enable him to progress on to university.
In 2013, Binda was appointed a young trustee where she currently sits on the Board of Trustees to ensure the charity continues to support the best interest of the young people it represents. She has helped the charity to develop their five-year strategy and has worked closely with the staff to drive nominations from schools, youth organisations and the third sector across the UK and to improve the nomination process, saving the charity time and money.
In 2008, Binda’s passion for education meant that she set her mind on travelling to India to take part in a four-week educational volunteering project with leading charity, Global Vision International. She was required to fundraise over £2,500 for the project, which as a cash-strapped undergraduate at the time, was a challenge in itself. She came up with the idea of organising a charity dinner and raised over £3,400 for the project. She spent four weeks in a rural village in Rajasthan where she not only taught English and maths, but also spoke to children and their families about the importance of hygiene and healthy eating, and the benefits of education. The extra money she raised from the charity dinner was spent on buying school supplies and sports equipment, which was often scarce and difficult for the NGO to provide. Binda regularly sent equipment and money to the NGO from London, which contributed towards setting up an orphanage for young children in the area. She visited the orphanage in 2010, which now supports over 100 children.
As you can tell, Binda is hugely dedicated to her work and the education sector. She spends much of her time working on voluntary projects, community initiatives and her role as a young trustee. She is a great cook and enjoys baking in her free time. She is someone who is always full of energy and loves to talk! She is a fantastic role model not only for her family and friends, but for her community too.
In the media:
From her high-profile work with the Diana Award, Binda has been featured in various newspaper articles and on television as an ambassador for the Award. Attached below are photos of her during the lunch with Princes William and Harry, and from when she spoke at an event with the Rt Honourable David Cameron PM.
Binda has also written for the Asian Voice about challenges faced by young people from her community, which was featured in the special edition called the Kutch Maadu (http://issuu.com/abpl/docs/kutch2014).
She was also invited to speak on BBC Radio in August 2014 about the challenges students face as they leave school. It was a live debate where Binda was discussing her experiences of working with young people and looking at the landscape of careers advice in the UK and the support on offer within schools and colleges.