From Hackney student to a Dr to the world!
Hackney born and raised, BSix alumnus Dr Cassim Akhoon is now working internationally as a humanitarian doctor with a refugee and migrant population on the Burma-Thailand border.
Cassim attended Tawhid Boys School, Hackney. He didn’t achieve particularly high GCSE grades, but BSix believed in him and supported him with a flexibility that enabled him to re-sit some GCSEs and take A-Levels. Cassim was with us from 2006 to 2008 and he achieved high grades in A-level Biology, Chemistry, English Language & Literature, and AS-level Religious Studies. From there he progressed to study Medicine (MBBS) and Infectious Diseases and Immunobiology (BSc, Hons) at King’s College University of London.
Cassim reflected telling us:
‘BSix is largely the main reason I’ve been able to become a doctor. Being born and raised in Hackney, I wasn’t exactly given the greatest ‘head-start’ in the city. However, my dreams remained big and curious to know what I could achieve. After having achieved low GCSE grades, BSix was the only sixth form in the city which allowed me to attempt A-levels and simultaneously retake two of my GCSE subjects. BSix truly cared about students eager to make the most of their education and granted me ample opportunities which I could never have dreamed of experiencing. I took part in a European Union Comenius project on sustainable energy, and presented it to a French and Danish audience in Denmark. During my A-levels, the teachers went out of their way to help me and the college provided such a wealth of opportunities to aid with my learning, including: 1-to-1 tutoring for A-level subjects I struggled in, extra support for the GCSEs I was re-taking (for which I also managed to get an A*), and plenty of higher education career support. In fact, thanks to BSix I also had the opportunity to take part in a fully-funded gap year volunteering in a Red Cross Hospital in Japan, through a charity called ‘Lattitude’ – thanks to BSix’s higher education fair. BSix also granted me several more opportunities for personal development with their enriching student ambassador scheme, allowing me to host prospective students as well as speaking at secondary schools. The list can go on and on, and I genuinely have such warm memories and gratitude for BSix, it made me who I am today. It turned a boy who only got 4 C-grades in his GCSEs to being amongst the top 10% in a year of 450 medical students at one of the UK’s most prestigious universities, King’s College London. I’m proud of BSix and I hope BSix is proud of me!’
Cassim’s career to date:
(2016-17) Oxford University Hospitals: Junior Doctor, with rotations in Acute psychiatry, orthopaedic surgery, and acute internal medicine
(2017-18) Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust: Junior doctor, with rotations in Gastroenterology, Accident & Emergency (A&E), and Paediatrics
(2018-present) Mae Tao Clinic: Volunteer doctor
(From September 2019) I will undertake my Master’s in Tropical Medicine and International Health, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
‘The best thing about BSix was the unlimited amount of opportunities available to develop a successful future. Beyond my core studies, BSix continually offered an extremely large variety of activities and programmes to get involved in, each offering a valuable opportunity for personal development and points to strengthen your CV. Amongst these, included strong connections with widening participation programmes from some of the UK’s most prestigious universities. The advice I wish to give all current students at BSix is to get involved in as many of these opportunities offered by BSix as possible, they can change your future in beautiful ways, just as they changed mine! These activities even allowed me to live and work in Japan for 1 year, study medicine at King’s College London, and appear on TV!’
‘BSix is largely the main reason I've now been able to become a doctor. Being born and raised in Hackney, I wasn't exactly given the greatest 'head-start' in the city. However, my dreams remained big and curious to know what I could achieve.'