Shairoz Sharma has been working at Baitul Ilms for close to 15 years across London, France and Leicester. Her ambitions in religious teaching started at the young age of 17 in Leicester. “We specifically taught nursery students on Friday evenings in Leicester.”

On a day-to-day basis, Shairoz describes herself as “an author and a mum.” In 2019 she launched her first children’s book last year called ‘Shine Brighter’ – “[I think] it can equally be a good read for the older age group and even parents who are working towards embedding and nurturing good values in their children.”

This book was first published in the USA, in July 2018 and has recently been published in London for access to the UK audience.

“Shine Brighter is all about life lessons that we keep going back to again and again. It’s about trust, being true to yourself, friendship, brotherhood, helping each other and making our world a happy place for everyone around us.” Shairoz believes these values although simple are incredibly important in today’s world.

“Hazar Imam frequently talks about these values and this is where I got my inspiration from. I thought to translate those values into simple stories for children and inspire them to make those values a part of their daily living.”

Nurturing good values in children is at the core of Shairoz's work, and she uses stories as a tool to invite that dialogue between children, parents and the wider community. “I believe stories provide the best medium to share knowledge and wisdom with children. My book is not just for the children within our community, but I want to reach out to the children globally to collectively make our world a prosperous place for everyone.”

Her role as a Baitul Ilm teacher only reflects her dedication to the community and early childhood schooling, “I feel as adults, we have a big responsibility towards helping children. Through us, they can learn life lessons and some very abstract concepts like intuitions.”

For Shairoz, teaching is a reciprocal relationship, one where teachers often learn a lot more from students. In her eyes children are knowledgeable and “as teachers we can help them to identify their potentials to grow as successful individuals.”

Shine Brighter is just the first book for Shairoz, and she plans on writing more books for various audiences in the future focusing on social issues such as gender equality, human rights and life skills. She currently has a book ready for publishing in the near future. In addition to this, she continues her work as a Baitul Ilm teacher.

“I feel very fulfilled when I am teaching. As teachers we have a duty of care. I would like children to grow up as confident individuals and walk with their heads high.”