Like many students at the University of Wolverhampton, graduate Jehangir Malik was the first in his family to go into higher education. Graduating in 1992 with an LLB (Hons) in Law, Jehangir is today the UK Director at Islamic Relief, one of the largest international relief agencies in the country, and last year was awarded an OBE for his services to humanity.
“Going to university was a major milestone within my community and one that made my family and friends alike very proud of me”, he explains. “The University had a very reputable Law School and I found it to be a very exciting, dynamic and intellectually stimulating place for learning.”
As a first generation university entrant, Jehangir found a lot of support in staff and fellow students during his studies.
“The lecturers were excellent and the support staff provided me with plenty of moral and academic guidance. There was a great atmosphere and I met students from all walks of life.”
Jehangir’s experiences also helped shape the person he is today.
“My time at Wolverhampton helped me to grow as an individual, and especially helped me to see the diversity in our society and value it as a strength to be utilised. It gave me the confidence I needed to tackle any challenge and this will stay with me forever.”
It was during his time at Wolverhampton that Jehangir joined Islamic Relief as a volunteer fundraiser. Islamic Relief is an international aid and development charity, which aims to alleviate the suffering of the world's poorest people. As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, Islamic Relief promotes sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities - regardless of race, religion or gender.
Over the next 20 years Jehangir worked his way up the organisation and today, as UK Director, he is responsible for both strategic direction and emergency response, managing a dedicated team of people spread across the country.
“As I write this I am preparing to leave the very next day to the border of Libya and Tunisia where thousands of refugees are fleeing over the Libyan border to escape the fighting. Here Islamic Relief has set up transit shelters to help the displaced people. I love what I do and feel extremely privileged in performing the duties of my job.”
Jehangir also works with government departments and policy think tanks on relief and development. As the UK representative for Islamic Relief, he is often required to attend high profile events such as state functions and ministerial and ambassadorial briefings.
“Managing the UK Operation is an exciting and hugely gratifying day to day experience. I enjoy being able to play an active role in helping to bridge the gap and mobilising the British public who are deeply passionate about reducing the disparity between the developed and developing world and tackling poverty.”
In 2010 Jehangir was awarded an OBE by HRH Princess Anne for his services to Humanity.
“I feel extremely privileged and humbled at the same time in receiving this prestigious award. The OBE was an acknowledgement of the maturity of the organisation, its role in the fight against poverty and its services to humanity. As the recipient of the award, I hope it will be viewed as a symbol of recognition, inspiration and achievement.”
Looking back at his time at Wolverhampton, Jehangir has the following advice for potential students.
“Having travelled to over 20 countries around the world from Afghanistan to Somalia to Sudan to Iraq, I have realised the phenomenal opportunity that a university education provides to any student of any background. It equips you with the necessary skills to help you meet the exciting challenges that await you. Embrace it with all its glory.”