Volunteers Week: Samah’s volunteering story

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Samah and her family fled to Syria from Iraq due to war when she was seven, where they settled and Samah was able to complete her education. Conditions in Syria however were not great and there was little support in place for children with disabilities; this was an issue as Samah’s brother is autistic.

Not one to give up easily, Samah’s mother set up her own charity and established a support centre for children with disabilities from her local community, providing support to the children and parents as well as providing training and guidance to those most in need.

Samah volunteered at the centre whilst continuing her education and enjoyed being able to help people who had significant issues to contend with.

Unfortunately, due to worsening circumstances in Syria, what little funding the charity received was withdrawn and the centre was forced to close as the country became more unstable. Samah and her family once again found themselves on the move and arrived in Britain.

Samah is now a participant on the Connecting Opportunities project and has made great progress in her studies. Her English has improved and she has also taken courses in Health and Safety, Customer Service and Computer Skills. She is currently studying English at the training centre with our tutor Richard, as well as studying English and Maths at Bradford College.

READ MORE: What Volunteering Means to Horton Housing

Samah is always driven towards helping others, however she felt initially that her English skills were not sufficiently developed to allow her to do this effectively, and she lacked confidence having recently arrived in the UK.

She is now a volunteer with Connecting Opportunities. She provides befriending services to Arabic speaking participants, helping them to integrate into their communities, providing an outlet for those who are isolated, listening to participants issues and signposting them to the relevant support. This work is of great value to our participants and helps their key-workers and tutors to provide a person-centred support package.

Samah is such a cheerful, positive and optimistic character that she really does bring a ray of sunshine into the lives of those she works with. She says she likes volunteering because she can gain valuable experience whilst giving back to society and helping individuals to reach their potential.

Her ambition is to study English Literature, which she has grown to love, and one day become an English Teacher. We believe that with the drive, determination and dedication to helping others through her volunteering that Samah has shown during times of upheaval, she can achieve whatever she sets her heart on, and deserves to do so.

For more from #VolunteersWeek, click here.