Furzana Khalifa, Joint Head of Centre at Highfields Centre
Hi my name’s Furzana Khalifa (JP). I live in Leicester and am the Joint Head of Centre at Highfields Centre, a community hub run by local people for local people. It is located in the heart of a vibrant and diverse community and serves over 2000 individuals a week from different cultures and faiths.
I stopped working when I gave birth to our second child as I wanted to spend quality time with my children. However, I soon found that whilst staying at home and raising a family, the world of employment was fast changing and that the world as I knew it had moved on. Systems had changed and colleagues that I once worked with had also moved and progressed. I found myself looking for employment and wanting to develop my existing skills. It was at this point that I enrolled on to a course “Certificate in advice work” accredited by the University of Leicester and delivered at community business the Highfields Centre. This course was the beginning of my journey. Not only did it provide me with the skills and knowledge to provide advice to local people looking for jobs, needing help with training and benefits, but also gave me the confidence to apply to become a Justice of the Peace also known as a Magistrate. I now sit in court, am Joint Head of Highfields Centre where I started my journey of self-development and also teach on the now re-vamped course “Social Welfare Advice and Guidance “for the University of Leicester.
Community businesses like Highfields Centre have so much to offer local people. You can make new friends and meet up with old ones, learn new skills, and keep your mind and body healthy. They are a valuable place for women to be more than just mothers, sisters and daughters.
I now find women who say to me that they see me as their role model. I believe that if by what I do can help change the life of someone for the better then that definitely is an achievement. It only takes that one step to change your life. That’s why we should all #BeBoldForChange