First British Muslim to travel in space returns to former Ilford school for music video

PUBLISHED: 15:53 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 15:53 07 November 2017

Hussain filming his video for Playground. Picture: Highlands Primary School

Hussain filming his video for Playground. Picture: Highlands Primary School


An Ilford poet, who is set to become the first British Muslim to travel in space, headed back to his old classroom to make a video.

Hussain Manawer, 26, visited Highlands Primary School, Highlands Gardens, with a production team to create a film to go alongside his poem Playground.

Hussain, who beat thousands of entrants to win a once-in-a-lifetime flight into space said he wrote his composition after witnessing the refugee crisis first hand.

“I saw so many children who’ve been stripped of a childhood because of what they’ve gone through - it’s something we can’t imagine and the reality of even being there doesn’t do their experiences justice,” he said

“The trip deeply impacted me and that’s where the line, ‘I need to fall in love with the world again’ comes from.

“I was privileged enough to smile through, my childhood and that’s something I think a lot of us take for granted.”

The poet said that “normal” experience of going to school, playing with friends in the playground and receiving an education are things that every child deserves but not every child gets.

Pupils at Highlands, watched the video created in their playground and discussed the themes within it.

Eshaan from Class 2Kh said: “Hussain really liked our playground and his friends were important to him.

“He cared about his friends and he wanted to make history – I want to be intelligent and learn more like Hussain.

Classmate Vanessa added: “I think that Hussain made all the right choices he was respectful and kind.

“Watching the video made me feel proud to be at Highlands.’

Liz Payne has worked at the school for more than 23 years and remembers Hussain when he was a young boy having fun in the playground.

“We are extremely proud of him winning the international competition and are all excited to follow his journey as he trains for his space mission.

“I was only too happy to help Hussain achieve his dream in filming the video for the Playground at the school.

“I am so inspired when I listen to Hussain’s poetry, he captures tiny details from life and portrays them in such a thought-provoking way. I am sure he is destined for great heights in all he does.”

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