A very successful event organised by Sikh Youth UK was held at Gurdwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha Southall this evening (October 6) to help and support Sikh students in London.
The Sikh Students Freshers and Careers Fair saw over 30 Sikh societies and universities across London coming together to create a network of support for students.
There were a number of stalls available and students had the chance to find out about successful Sikh businesses, get involved in Sikh groups and, cherry on top, they had access to hundreds of freebies.
We spoke to the event organiser and Sikh Youth UK founder, Deepa Singh, who told us this is the fifth event they’ve organised but the first one held in London.
Speaking to UNSAID, Deepa said: “This evening is about safeguarding and protecting the Sikh community and show them wrap around support while they’re at university, college or school. At this time chances are high for them to fall into the wrong hands.
“This is a way to show them that there are better and more interesting opportunities available to them. Drug and alcohol abuse tends to be much higher among students and risk factors to sexual grooming is a major issue so hopefully the connections they make tonight will keep them away from all that.”
Best selling author Ruby Dhal was also at the event and addressing all the students there, she mentioned: “I wish when I went to university five years ago I was able to go to events like this and connect with other Sikh students.
When I was going to university I was studying philosophy and I was the only brown person in the entire four years of my course there. It’s not easy to say but I felt very isolated, very alone.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to be, all I knew was that I wanted to get my degree and have a stable career. What I didn’t know is that there were so many opportunities available to me. I doubted myself, I thought there isn’t many Sikh – Punjabi writers out there and I didn’t know I could do it.
“It wasn’t until I was able to develop that self-confidence that I was able to take that step. Throughout the years there have been so many challenges but I still have an amazing group of people around me and you only find that in places like this – It’s so important to make these connections and to talk to people.”
Herrai Singh, who does seva with Sikh2Inspire said: “I think today’s event is massively important because not only are we bringing Sikh societies together but we’re bringing them back into the gurdwara.
“Today we can say come back to the gurdwara, look how easy was for you to come here today, come back again. Evenings like this show that there’s a support network from all our Sikh societies and hopefully we can carry on from the success.”
Volunteer Harj Dhillon gave her insight into the event and said: “I think today was a great event for the younger Sikh community to gather together and meet like-minded individuals not only for careers opportunities but for education opportunities as well and it’s nice to see that not only university students turned up but also college and Sixth Form students.”
Another volunteer Kiran also spoke to us about the evening. She said: “I think it is really important that we educate and empower children and that we support their journey into finding a career.”
Sikh students in the Midlands will have the opportunity to attend a similar event on October 13 at Guru Arjan Dev Ji Gurdwara Gym and the Unsaid team is encouraging everyone to attend and make those connections.