Profiles of the Refugee Council volunteers who have won awards - Refugee Council
October 1, 2005

Profiles of the Refugee Council volunteers who have won awards

Birmingham Leeds London

Kosar Parveen – Kosar volunteers in the Birmingham office as a Fundraising/Research Assistant. She is originally from Pakistan and is a Muslim woman living with Cerebal Palsy. She is a bright, intelligent, insightful person and she is an inspiration to staff, volunteers and clients. Through her warmth, intellect and dedication she has engaged the staff, volunteers and clients at the Refugee Council and educated them in an impressive way on working with and assisting people living with disability. She has also helped to improve access to services for clients with disabilities. Her research work is also invaluable.

Ismail Kawumbi – Ismail is an asylum seeker from Rwanda and has volunteered in the Birmingham office since September 2003. He is involved in a huge range of volunteer projects and activities and volunteers almost full-time. He has been instrumental in running a very important telephone information line and providing training and induction to new volunteers. Ismail has also helped to set up a football project for clients. His commitment is extraordinary, particularly as his accommodation has been changed more than eight times since arriving in the UK.

Sami Ali – Sami faced appalling persecution in Sudan before fleeing to the UK. Despite his personal circumstances and the difficulties he has faced in the UK he makes a huge contribution to the Leeds office. Volunteering at the St George’s Drop In in the city centre, he is particularly appreciated by all who come into contact with him.

Maggie Ashworth – Maggie is a local volunteer in Leeds working as part of the Talks Team. By using her extensive research skills, Maggie has played a pivotal role in developing our interactive talks to community groups and schools and raising awareness about asylum and refugee issues and helping to dispel some of the myths about refugees and asylum seekers.

Anwarali Budharali – Anwarali, a refugee with full status from Kenya, volunteers three times per week in the Leeds Office. He has shown dedication and commitment by volunteering across a wide range of services including the St George’s Crypt Drop-In; without his loyal support to the much needed clothes shop there this service would have folded up long ago. Anwarali also takes responsibility for purchasing and distributing food for destitute clients and helps out with administrative support.

Barbara Coombs – Barbara has shown immense dedication and flexibility whilst volunteering in Leeds. She willingly contributes to any service which needs her and as a result volunteers in many capacities including English language and learning support, the Talks Team, Office Reception and Screening, supporting Conference workshops and taking the calls on the Advice/Information Line.

Elvis Nduhukire – Elvis is an asylum seeker from Uganda who has been waiting for over three years for a decision on his case. He had to flee Uganda leaving his wife and son behind. He recently had to start the entire asylum process again. Despite enduring years of uncertainty and frustration regarding his own asylum application, he has made a massive contribution to the Leeds office as part of the Talks Team, on the Advice Line, at the St George’s Crypt Drop-In and in providing food parcels for destitute clients. Elvis is an inspiration and leaves an impression on everyone he meets.

Benjoly Bapindikwa – Benjoly is a refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is a qualified electronic engineer. He is an inspiration and role model to clients, staff and other volunteers and has shown an enormous commitment to education, both his own and others. Benjoly has developed into an integral part of the Learning Time project in the London office, which provides study support to unaccompanied refugee children who do not have school places. Benjoly is positive, reliable and shows huge enthusiasm for his role and this enthusiasm rubs off onto his pupils. We are very proud that Benjoly has been invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate his immense impact as a volunteer.

Urginia Mauluka – Urginia worked as a photographic journalist for an independent newspaper in Zimbabwe during some of the countries most difficult and violent political periods. Because of the situation she was forced to flee, leaving her young son behind. They have been reunited in the UK for the last year. Both are now refugees in the UK with Indefinite Leave to Remain. Urginia was nominated for her contribution to the Communications Department, based at the Refugee Council’s office in London, as a talented photographer. Urginia’s professional skills and her and personal commitment to the concerns of the Refugee Council are an inspiration to all those that work with her.

Lameeia Mohamed – Lameeia is a refugee from Iraq and has shown enormous commitment to the Brixton Day Centre at the London office. She volunteers full-time and is a consistent and reassuring presence for traumatised clients. Many clients assume that she is salaried, she is here so often. Lameeia volunteers with great dedication, providing food, clothing, toiletries and baby packs to clients. She also provides language support to clients to help them to understand their rights and to access services.

Sister Eleanor Wiseman – Sister Eleanor is a retired teacher who has volunteered two days per week in London since 1996. Sister Eleanor is a talented teacher, working with different clients every week in London teaching “survival English” such as times, days of the week and parts of the body. Sister Eleanor shows outstanding compassion towards all of our clients and is hugely popular with her students. She shows enormous enjoyment, but also humility, in her volunteering and has helped thousands of clients to learn English in her time here.