To mark South Asian Heritage Month, 22-year-old Jinan Hussain sheds light on how she celebrates her Bangladeshi heritage and discusses her Project SEARCH internship and how it’s helped her gain valuable experience in the workplace.
Celebrating my Bangledeshi heritage
My name is Jinan Hussain. I am 22 years old and of Bangladeshi origins. I celebrate my heritage by eating my favourite foods. For me, these are Hoodki (a delicious type of seafood curry), chicken curry with rice, and mithai (indian sweets - my favourite being ras malai, a dessert made of cheese, milk and almonds). I haven't been back home since I was 7 but I would like to go back soon to visit with family and explore more of Bangladesh.
How my Project Search journey started
In 2022 I had just finished college and was considering my next steps. The college suggested I visit DFN Project SEARCH at Whipps Cross Hospital which is a supported internship programme for young people between the age of 16 – 24 with a learning difficulty, autism, visual or hearing impairment. It is for a year starting in September and finishing in July. I went for a visit, met and knew a lot of the interns and graduates. I also went on a tour of the hospital to see the different departments and what they have to offer. I found the visit and looking around very appealing and decided to apply and I was invited to attend an interview and skills assessment. I was offered a place and started on the programme in September 2022. This is where my journey started.
When I started I was not an independent traveller but soon worked on my route and started coming in and going home on my own. I was also not very confident. I started my first placement in the Margaret Centre where I learnt a lot about aromatherapy and the importance of this for people coming towards the end of their life. I also learnt about hand massage. I joined in the mindfulness sessions. I helped with administrative tasks. I even planted flowers in the little garden and loved to watch them grow and flower. I also feel I grew so much as a person in this department becoming more independent, confident and started to believe in myself. I started to realise ‘I can’ do all of these tasks and I had a lot to give.
I really liked this role
For my second placement I went in maternity where I worked as a ward host. I helped to prepare plated meals for the new mothers. I could hear the new babies crying! I learnt how to operate the dishwasher and washed and put all the plates away. I had really good mentors who supported and showed me the role. The job coaches would also come every day and help me to layer on my skills and put in reasonable adjustments where I needed. I really liked this role and wanted to continue adding to my skillset.
On my third and final placement I continued working as ward host on another ward. I have a wonderful mentor who I have worked alongside. I have learnt how to use the tablet and order the patient food. I am able to use the oven and help serve the food. I do the tea and coffee rounds independently. I am working towards getting a job as a ward host. I really like this role, it makes me happy.
The teachers could not believe it
I returned to college to speak to the students about my journey on DFN Project SEARCH. The teachers could not believe how much I had grown and how confident and independent I have become. They saw such a positive change in me as have my family. I wanted to recommend DFN Project SEARCH to other students so they can have this amazing experience. Many of the students I presented to are going to be joining DFN Project SEARCH in September 2023.