Savita Sathe

Anthropologist, Teesside

Sector: Education and Community Support

After many years as a youth and community worker Savita Sathe wanted to give a voice to some of the marginalised communities she had worked with. Through her study of anthropology and research of different cultures she helps to do this day to day.

Where do you call home?

Teesside!

Tell us about your role? 

I’m an anthropologist. Anthropologists study humans from biological, social and health perspectives. I work at Durham University and Durham International Study Centre.

I established a community group called North East Migration Project researching migration to the North East and over lockdown we established a service providing support to people who are seeking asylum and other people in Stockton.

Now those people are leading their own project supported by NEMP to encourage and empower each other. Every month someone from this diverse community cooks food from their culture and shares it with the group so we can all find out more about each other. 

How did you get to where you are today?

I was a youth and community worker for many years and when I had children, I took a break to go back to university. I was interested in giving a voice to some of the marginalised communities that I had worked with as a community worker and sharing the stories and experiences of people who live in Teesside.

I loved anthropology, learning about people and cultures and the importance of our shared humanity. I’ve never left! As a researcher I have been involved with many of those same communities and I try to convey their stories and experiences as accurately as I can to others. 

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way?

Trying to juggle work with family – sometimes you get it right…sometimes no one is happy!

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success?

I don’t know if I’ve had that!

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?

Don’t sell yourself short – expect a good wage and ask for it. Women are still paid less than men (15.5% in 2020 according to the Office for National Statistics). Work your way up as quick as you can. If you choose to have children, you may have a career break. Children are amazing, the best gift in your life, work is great but nothing as important as family. If you want to have children feel confident to pick them first if that works for you and enjoy your time with them. If you are further up the ladder, it’s easier to get back later. If you have children young – enjoy being a mum, there’s plenty of time to have a career later. 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

Always speak out for what is right even when it upsets people, often people don’t want to hear about injustice but if you don’t speak who will?

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path? 

Community, justice, dignity. These are the things that underpin the work I do.

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