Creative schoolgirl went on to become trailblazer
Sajedah Maka loved school. But little did she think when she was a little girl that she would play a hand in helping develop primary and secondary schools across the county '“ and become a trailblazer for Asian girls.
Yet that is exactly what the former Deepdale Primary and Preston Muslim Girls School pupil has ended up doing.
Her father had taught English in India before moving to Preston and as it wasn’t the first language at home her parents encouraged her speaking skills though reading and in her early years at Deepdale she was well ahead for her age.
She adds: “I really enjoyed school. I was creative and really enjoyed art.
“I would lose myself in it and always had an interest in buildings and by the time I went to high school I knew I wanted to be an architect. I dreamt of designing my own house.
“I went to college and when I got into university I wanted to stay local but UCLan wasn’t offering an architect course so I did a BSc in building surveying.”
She joined Lancashire County Council as trainee building surveyor after graduating and spent 15 years in the education sector.
Sajedah had already broken the mould for her peers, saying: “Asian girls tend to go into medicine or accountancy. As a Muslim, it wasn’t a common career path for a young girl in my community to pursue. It was hard for people to accept and understand my position and what it involved,”
In 2007, she LCC left for a short spell as a maintenance surveyor for the UCL, before rejoining the county council in the property department, becoming chartered and then appointed as a district surveyor.
This saw her looking after more than 30 schools.
Sajedah said one of the highlights of her career was being given a chance to help with the redesign of the Muslim Girls’ High, which was originally a few rooms in an old mill. She says: “The whole building has been completely redesigned and developed.”
The fast-growing Eldon Primary in Preston has also enjoyed the benefit of her expertise.
Sajedah is a governor at the inner city school and has used this to help develop the school.
She now works as Senior Consultant at Identity Consult in Preston.