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Refugee from war-torn Mid-East wins Tower Hamlets ‘Student of the Year’ award

PUBLISHED: 10:40 09 October 2015 | UPDATED: 13:46 09 October 2015

Two of the award winners... Rohash Shexo and Rabaka Khatun

Two of the award winners... Rohash Shexo and Rabaka Khatun

Guy Levy

A Syrian woman now living in London’s East End who escaped the traumas of a refugee camp and the horrors of civil war has won the Creative Art Student of the Year award at her college.

Rohash Shexo, 41 (pictured above, left), is one of 33 students at Tower Hamlets college receiving awards.

More award winners... Lucy Miles [left], Fabian Gonzalez and Taslima AkhtarMore award winners... Lucy Miles [left], Fabian Gonzalez and Taslima Akhtar

She took the top honour at the annual Student Achievement evening held at Canary Wharf’s Hilton Hotel.

Rohash, who is living in Stepney Green, enrolled at the college in Poplar after enduring physical and emotional hardships after fleeing from her homeland across the frontier to a refugee camp in Iranian Kurdistan.

“She brought thoughtfulness, creative and technical skills as well as care to all her work,” her citation says.

“Her final project expresses where she came from and reflects on the horror of war around a refugee camp on the border of Syria.

“Her work was a powerful testament to her experience, showing the grief, sorrow and despair of the survivors.”

The award was presented on October 6 by movie star Colin Salmon, who flew in from New York that morning—having been busy filming the new CBS series Limitless—to present the awards alongside college Principal Gerry McDonald.

Salmon is also recognised as Chief of Staff Charles Robinson in three James Bond movies, with Pierce Brosnan and Judi Dench, as well as being on BBC TV’s Strictly Come Dancing.

Some 31 awards spanning the entire range of faculties at the college were presented during the glitzy evening.

Mohammed Miah, 19, from Bow, won the Principal’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement for his A* and As in his A-levels and is now studying law at Queen Mary University in Mile End.

Fabian Gonzalez, 20, from Plaistow, won the Information Technology Student of the Year award.

He arrived in Britain from Spain, starting on a Level 1 course and getting a distinction, then went on directly to a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in IT, reaching ‘distinction’ level.

Rabaka Khatun, 17, from north London, won the Corporation Award for Young Learner of the Year for outstanding academic progress—doubly impressive as she looks after her young siblings while her mum is in Bangladesh. Her ambition is to be a teacher.

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Tower Hamlets College 2015 ‘Student of the Year’ awards:

English and Communications: Ibrahim King

Mathematics: Nusrat Shabani

Science: Juned Khan

Humanities: Bharoti Pal

Business Studies: Angela Yoganathan

Information Technology: Fabian Gonzalez

Catering & Hospitality: Aisha Abdi

Hairdressing & Beauty Therapy: Samina Naz

Health & Social Care: Taslima Akther

Early Years: Salman Hussain

Creative Arts: Rohash Shexo

Foundation Learning: Ryan Barnard

Aspirations: Mohima Ali

14-16 Student: Deianira Urovi

Young ESOL: Dihan Tran

Adult ESOL: Sacdiyo Salax

Access: Lucy Miles

Technical Skills: Rezma Jusna

TowerSkills Workplace Achievement: Akim Davies

TowerSkills Apprentice: Mohammod Abdulla

College Life: Sharif Musah

Student Mentoring: Tanjila Ali

Outstanding Achievement in Literacy: Halima Begum

Student Ambassador: Jo Lea Watson

Outstanding Achievement in Enterprise: Jelizaveta Obalte, Sayra Begum, Naomi Hamilton, Angela Yoganathan and Habibur Rahman

Progression Achievement: Rubina Begum

Academic Achievement: Mohammed Miah

Adult Learner: Tahsin Chowdhury

Young Learner: Rabaka Khatun

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