One in two million – inspirational Newcastle mum receives award

A photograph of Tasleem at City Library
Winner Tasleem with her award

A local woman has received a major national award for learning new digital skills that have helped turn her life around.

Tasleem Akhtar, 28, was a finalist in the Inspirational Learner category of the 2 Millionth Learner awards, run by the charity Good Things Foundation. She was invited to celebrate this achievement at a prestigious ceremony at the BT Tower in London.

Tasleem, originally from Pakistan, decided to join the Learn My Way online basics course after her marriage broke down and she found herself living in a strange country. She was studying to be a lawyer before she left her country, and knew she needed to return to studying to build a new life for her and her young son.

The course is part of the digital inclusion programme developed by Newcastle City Council and Your Homes Newcastle, encouraging learners to become more confident with digital technology and benefit from everything digital can bring.

And the Learn My Way course was just the starting point for Tasleem. Since being involved in this she has also taken an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) course, became a volunteer at the City Library and a Digital Champion, showing others how to use computers and supporting them to learn English.

Cllr Joyce McCarty, Deputy Leader of Newcastle City Council and the lead for Digital Change said: “Tasleem is a real inspiration and the perfect example of why our digital inclusion programme is so important.

“We are offering free training, access to computers and a step onto the ladder of employment, training or education.

“And those learners who become Digital Champions must be congratulated. Helping others and giving back the support they have received is truly admirable”. 

Tasleem added: “I was over the moon when I found out that someone thought my learning was worth an award. Thank you. It means a lot to me to have that support”.  

Since the awards ceremony in London, staff at the City Library decided to congratulate Tasleem personally for her fantastic achievement at a ceremony attended by M.P. Chi Onwurah and Cllr McCarty. As well as being a Digital Champion, Tasleem is at college studying towards Level 2 ESOL, maths and English, and hopes to go to university to finish her law degree.

If you’re interested in getting online for the first time or improving your computer skills contact the Digital Inclusion Team: / 0191 277 4100, or visit