Question time: Mayor of Newham’s inteview with an 8-year-old
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 November 2019
Eight-year-old Jannah Chowdhury, a pupil at Roman Road Primary School, East Ham, interviews mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz
When I went to interview Rokhsana Fiaz the mayor of Newham. I felt scared but then I remembered that I met her once when I was six years old. Then I started to feel confident and brave. When I got to her office, it was in a building I've seen many times before, but never went in. I felt much more confident, as I was aware of the place. I even felt excited and lucky to interview her. As I went in, I was given a visitors badge, number 23, to use for the day.
Soon, as we went near the lift, I asked someone which floor are we going? She said 4th floor. When I came out of the lift my mom and me walked into the office. When I saw the mayor I gave her a box of chocolates, she said she has to share the present I gave her, with everyone as she won't be able to eat it on her own. But she seemed really happy to help me write this article.
We sat down to do the interview.
The first question that was important to ask her was
Q. Why and how did you become the mayor of Newham?
A. It was a complicated process, we had a competition, I put my name in which I won and became a Labour candidate. Then we had elections and people voted for me to be their mayor.
Q. How hard did you work to be the mayor?
A. It was very complex and hard work.
Q. What advice would you give to young girls like myself who see you as a role model to become a female leader?
A. O bless, it is very touching to hear that, so thank you very much for considering me a role model. I recognise the problems my role has and the tension it has brought because unfortunately, despite us being in the 21st century and it coming to 2020, there are very few people that are like me - from a south Asian background and Muslim. So I would say to young girls like you, that you should not wait for permission to be a leader and should be confident and remain focused.
Q. What do you think of education?
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A. I think education is very important because it gives people skills and a language to communicate with other people. Education can enrich and it can help you understand what is happening around us and provides explanations, but sometimes education is used in a negative way. So there are some people in the universe that make up facts and put it on social media so people like me and you believe those made up facts are true facts. We need to be careful of what we see on the internet so that is why education is important.
Q. What do you know about Roman Road - my school?
A. I know that it is a fun school and all the teachers are very nice and I know that it is where the magic happens. And has brilliant girls like you.
Q. How can you as a mayor help improve education for us as we are the future of Newham?
A. We are working very closely with schools. We are saying to all schools in Newham let's work together as a school forum because the education of our children and young people in the borough is very important and we've got to make sure that, together we maintain the excellent exams results that we have been seen in this borough. That demonstrates how bright and courageous and educated our people are because our exam results have been great. It's very important that we ensure our young people are developed into more rounded individuals.
Q. How can you work with schools better?
A. So again we work regularly with schools, we have meetings every term, we identify issues and challenges. We have serious mechanisms so if needed we step into the school to help improve it. We are now beginning to make a strong friendship with schools to show that we are here to support them.
Q. Can you stop deforestation?
A. Well actually in Newham you will be really pleased to know that in the middle of November we will be planting 9,000 trees. Yep in Beckton Park, so we are gonna plant 9,000 trees and actually in Newham we've got lots of spaces.
The mayor was funny and nice. After the interview she showed me her office. I saw the planes landing and the river. The mayor said she would like to come to my school to one of our assemblies one day. She asked me if I would like to be the mayor, I said no. She said what about your friends I said I wasn't sure. She said ask them after the half term (school holidays).
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