A student who had to care for his sick father and help support his family, as well as complete his studies, has graduated from The University of Salford.
Hamza Shah, from Stoke on Trent, received a 2:1 BSC with honours in Business Information Technology.
Alongside his exams and essays Hamza, who attended Haywood High School and Newcastle-under-Lyme college before coming to Salford, also had to care for his sick father, who was diagnosed with kidney failure during his second year.
To support his family Hamza took on two part time jobs, including helping to look after his dad’s business, but wanted to continue with his studies as well.
And despite his illness, which means he has to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for hours every week, his father, Ishfaq 57 (both pictured), was there on his big day as he donned his graduation gown.
22-year-old Hamza said: “It was a massive shock for the whole family when my dad was diagnosed. It has had a huge impact, it’s not nice seeing him ill every day.
“It is a genetic thing, my grandad and my Dad’s brother have both had the same thing.
“He can’t drink certain liquids and he has to be on dialysis three times every week for five or six hours. He has no energy and had to give up work. He ran his own small business before he got this disease.
“My brother took over the business, but I wanted to be able to complete my course after putting all the effort into it. In my final year I was commuting in every day from Stoke. It was a lot of effort but it will all be worth it when I get my degree.
“My dad is a fighter and he doesn’t want to sit around, but this illness has given him no choice.
“I had to stay strong. I’ve always wanted to be successful but I wanted to quit everything, it had such a big impact. My dad’s condition got worse, it was a difficult time for the whole family.”
After leaving university Hamza is planning to start a career in IT support. While at Salford he was also involved in setting up a business, Flexydine, an app which allows people to book tables in restaurants at the last minute.
Hamza added: “The staff at Salford were amazing. They were so supportive of me. They knew what was going on at home and supported me really well, and made the journey so much easier, it helped me get through to be honest. My mum and dad are so proud of me, they know how much effort I have to put in in the last twelve months. I can’t believe how far I have come. It will be a dream come true to have my father there on the day.”
One of his lecturers, Alex Fenton, said: “We have never seen any student overcome more difficulties than Hamza during his studies. Hamza has been an absolute pleasure to teach, he always gives his all and maintains his friendly persona through all of the challenges life has presented him this year.”