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Insia Ishaji

Insia Ishaji

British Identity - Can Religion, Culture and British values come together?

Insia Ishaji, young, petite and known for her feisty attitude and her mindset that quitting is never an option. She is known as the girl who will continue to challenge for what she believes in. She believes in the three cornerstones of success: hard work, grit and pure passion!

Her journey began a number of years ago; whilst at school she was the shy, quiet girl who sat in the corner with the fear that someone may speak to her. It all changed when she was in Year 9 at school and all it took was for one person who truly believed in her, gave her a chance, one opportunity that would alter who she was as a person.

Being a British-born, young independent female with an Indian and African upbringing, life wasn’t without its challenges for Insia. She battled with exploring what her identity was, feeling accepted for who she was and trying to ‘fit’ into western society. She challenged the ‘status quo’ of what was acceptable and worthy and has continued to challenge stereotypes.

Insia is deeply passionate about helping young people and those that work with them to truly understand the meaning of ‘British Values’ and identify the differences between religion and culture so people can truly understand and respect the differences between individuals. She isn’t afraid to challenge social taboos and feels that more dialogue needs to take place to address the challenges that we face in today’s society before any lasting change can take place.

She believes that British Values needs to be something that is debated, discussed and personalised to help not only young people but Governors, Teachers, Parents and the community understand what it means to them and how they can influence and make a change in the world around them.

Insia runs her own Social Enterprise ‘The Power to Be’ and works with schools and organisations to empower engage and inspire young people to develop their knowledge, self-esteem and confidence to explore their own identity, take responsibility for their own individual behaviour and contribute to society in a positive way. She believes that in order for there to be harmony between the different religions, cultures and traditions there needs to be a sharing of knowledge, experiences and opportunities for genuine respect and acceptance to take place. She is also a school Governor and advocate for Authentic Youth Leadership and Voice.

Insia speaks about the power of opportunity, knowledge and acceptance and with the key message of don’t make excuses if it matters enough you will make it a priority.

Testimonials from Teachers

“Insia’s presentation on British values was insightful and stimulating. Her delivery style is informal but polished and she was able to make all of the topics broached highly relevant to our students. I would recommend Insia for any school looking to explore British values in more depth.”

– C.Desvaux, Head of PSHE, Concord College

“The Pioneers Conference aims to help support the progression of Pakistani and Bangladeshi girls into Higher Education. Insia instantly stood out to us as a potential role model for our students because of her impressive achievements and commitment to social mobility. She delivered a powerful presentation to the Conference attendees on the personal and professional journey she has made to overcome certain barriers and achieve her goals. Her enthusiasm, passion and energy was truly inspirational and had a profound effect on the students – so much so, that one of the students spoke about having butterflies after her presentation! Furthermore, Insia’s warm and professional manner meant that she was an absolute pleasure to work with at every stage of the Conference, and we are grateful to her for all of her help in making the event a success!”

– Study Higher, National Centre for Collaborative Outreach

“Fantastic assembly from Insia on racism and islamophobia #Sticksandstones #stopracism”

– Alderman Bolton CP School

“I never thought before today how much words can hurt people. It really got me thinking. I want to change how I used to speak to my friends and teachers and challenges the things I hear in the media”

– Student, Alderman Bolton CP School​

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