Merton teenager set to stand in council elections as she aims to solve community problems


Hamna Qureshi moved to the UK from Pakistan just two years ago.


By Justin Moll

A Merton A-level student who moved to England from Pakistan less than two years ago is to stand in this year’s council election.

Hamna Qureshi, 19, is currently studying for her final exams at St Mark’s Academy, Mitcham, but combines her schoolwork with attending Merton Conservative council meetings.

The teenager cites her willingness to serve the community as the main reason behind her decision to run.

She said: “Politics is all about helping people.

“Since I moved here, I’ve come across a lot of problems which I think should have been solved by now.”

Miss Qureshi, her mother and two younger brothers came to the UK in 2012 to join her father, the Sales Director of an import food company.

She says that if she had stayed in Pakistan, a career in politics would not have crossed her mind.

“The situation as it is there, it is difficult for a woman to be a politician. I actually wanted to be a cardiologist.”

Now she plans to commence a Politics with International Relations degree this September at a London university.

Miss Qureshi appreciates there may be concerns over someone so young running as a councillor but refuses to see her age as a hindrance.

She said: “It is not about that. It is about how passionate you are.

“Of course I respect people with experience and I want to learn from them, but it is always good to have some fresh perspective.”

It is more than a year since Miss Qureshi went to her first meeting and she admits that there was a lot to take in.

She said: “I remember it like it was yesterday. It was completely shattering.”

She says the support she received along the way from family, friends and her school helped her to quickly adjust.

Vice Principal Elroy Cahill is the first person Miss Qureshi met on arriving at St Mark’s. 

He said: “She is a wonderful role model not just for the young people of this school but for the local area.

“She demonstrates just how important it is to be proactive in making an impact within your community.”

The election takes place on May 22.

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