Maria Mirembe is a very bright young Mancunian. With the help of We Love MCR Charity’s ‘Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund’ and her ‘happy place’, Manchester Central Library, she is battling through huge obstacles to fulfil her ambition…

Maria faced one of the toughest of starts, moving into The Contact hostel for homeless young women in Whalley Range. For most teenagers, this would spell the end of their education – but not for her. Studying full time, Maria took on casual work at KFC to fund her laptop costs and travel costs to Manchester Central Library to study outside school hours.

Progressing to 6th form, to concentrate on her studies, Maria stopped working part-time, and again finances became a big problem. She faced the dilemma – go back out to work, or cut back on studying. It was at this point that she heard of We Love MCR Charity and the Manchester’s Rising Stars Fund, which provides ambitious young Mancunians with critical support to overcome financial barriers to success, in a world that is increasingly full of them for young people. The grant meant she could pay off her laptop debt and fund her travel to college and to Central Library, easing the financial pressures as she prepared for A-Level exams. She did so well that she took a place at Leeds university.

Maria was awarded a second grant, to fund essential items so she could move into a new room in Leeds. She had initial difficulties, but her independence shone through and she propped herself up in rented housing by working two jobs, one of which was in a care-home throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Maria is now studying midwifery at undergraduate level. With the help of We Love MCR and her ‘happy place’, Central Library, she has found her vocation.

Watch Maria’s emotional and inspirational return to Manchester Central Library to promote a unique new Worker Bee themed trainer – the result of a collaboration between specialist trainer distributor, size? and Nike. We Love MCR receives 10% of the sales of the exclusive Nike ‘Air Force 1 Manchester’ trainer.

Find out more about the size? / Nike / We Love MCR partnership and Maria’s unique story.