Former child prodigy is recognised by the Queen and Meghan Markle for her mentoring
PUBLISHED: 14:00 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:21 19 March 2019
A volunteer and mentor born in Newham has been to the annual Commonwealth Day celebration after being invited by the Queen.
Samantha Imafidon mentors for Excellence in Education (EIE), a programme helping disadvantaged children and those from the inner-city into top universities to lead their chosen fields.
She went to the celebration, which is the largest annual multi-faith service in the UK, with her father Professor Chris Imafidon, who chairs EIE.
As well as the Queen, the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, and other members of the royal family were in attendance.
Samantha herself went through the programme.
Passing her GCSE maths aged six and Advanced Cambridge Maths at nine, after finishing her time at EIE Samantha went to Balliol College at Oxford as a choral scholar. She now works at Microsoft.
She was surprised, but honoured, to receive the invitation: “It’s really awesome to be recognised for something you love to do.
“Working with these children and watching them grow is what really fills me with joy and it’s the reason I have been mentoring for so long now.
“What’s important to me is that everyone gets their opportunity to be great and succeed.
“Excellence in Education believes every child is a genius. This resonates with me, as I believe there is space for everyone to be successful and this mentoring scheme champions this very idea.”
She has been helping children aged seven to 15 for seven years in her work with EIE, which has gotten primary school children to pass GCSEs and even A-Levels.
Last year, Newham schoolgirl Sofia Monforte at Vicarage Primary School in East Ham got a D in AS statistics.
At the time, she was believed to be one of the youngest people in the UK to pass an AS exam.
Professor Chris Imafidon said: “I’m most happy about the royal family recognising that every child is a genius and supporting inner-city kids and demonstrating their dedication to girl child education a universal basis.
“Without mentors like Samantha, our programme wouldn’t be possible.”
This year commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Commonwealth as it stands today.
The theme for 2019 is ‘a connected commonwealth’ to get people, governments and institutions to work to create networks of ‘friendship and goodwill’.