ARTIST Shahida Ahmed says believing in herself was the way she earned a double Masters degree, because she is not an academic.
And now the former Pendle councillor wants her success to inspire other women to return to education.
“It is crucial for women to do something for themselves too when given an opportunity,” she said. “In the UK we have many advantages and facilities which can give us chance to progress.
“Despite many hurdles in life and having to face many challenges my studies made me realise I did them for myself and it was my achievement.”
Mrs Ahmed, who has three teenage children was assisted to take a community leadership course, the first of its kind in the country. She spent part of her time in Cordoba, Spain, which influenced some of her work for the visual arts Masters from Leeds. She presented one of her pieces to Prime Minister David Cameron last year. Her next ambitions are to have her novel published and have her art works exhibited.
She added: “In my life time I have had loss of love ones, a critically ill child and many personal issues but one has to move forward and think positive in order to progress. I feel very delighted to look back and see how being persistent and believing in myself lead me to complete two masters degrees. I would not say I am academic, it was opportunity . I am a lot more mature and focused which made my thought process understand and learn more easily.”
As the voluntary director of Pendle Community Network Mrs Ahmed is keen to encourage women with children to make the most of their lives, and in the coming months she intends to take to skills to schools in South Asia.