News Article

Inspirational volunteer - Sahar's story

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Keele Volunteer, Sahar Maqbool

Sahar came to Keele as an International student studying Law. Her grasp of the English language and confidence in her own ability were limited at that time, and she had to overcome much adversity. She registered as a student volunteer in May 2017 and has been an active participant in various activities, events and community volunteering ever since. 

She has supported several asylum seekers and refugee support organisations, like Asha North Staffodrshire, Cobridge Community Centre, The People's Face, and the Burslem Jubilee Project. The organisations mostly support asylum seekers to live in safety and with dignity, as well as break down the barriers between the different groups in the community and bring the community together. One project was a drop-in centre which aimed to help asylum seekers and refugees be more active and less isolated. Sahar was a member of the team of volunteers who played games (such as ESL games) to help people with their English and interpersonal skills.

Sahar told us, "During the projects I was involved in many activities such as giving out food, clothes, helping in the charity events to fundraise money for the less fortunate, cleaning, as well as giving company to people who attended, and making them feel welcome. Through these activities I have gained invaluable experience and become an independent, self-motivated, polite and well-mannered individual."

She went on to say how she has developed her own skills through her volunteering, enhanced her CV, increased her confidence, and her approach to working and learning.

"I am hard working, and a good timekeeper. I can work independently in busy environments and within a team. I am extremely determined and always want to exceed expected standards. I show dedication and initiative in everything that I am involved in. I know how to overcome challenges and maintain a positive, motivated character. These activities have taught me how to effectively work in a team and solve & manage problems. They have also enabled me to develop a sense of commitment and responsibility. Furthermore, my extracurricular activities have developed my strong verbal and written communication and have allowed me to gain experience in interacting with a wide range of people."

She now volunteers for Appetite Stoke, whose mission is to get more people in Stoke-on-Trent to experience and be inspired by art. In this project, she works with a range of local and national artists and communities to deliver an expanding menu of artistic projects, and develop the appetite for the arts in Stoke-on-Trent. This has seen her involvement with major events in the area, like working with the New Vic theatre, British ceramics at Spode, and B-Arts bread making in Stoke. 

Sahar's contributions to volunteering were recognised by the local community who nominated her to be The Face of Stoke-on-Trent. She went on to represent Stoke-on-Trent at the centenary anniversary of women's right to vote in London, (March 2022), where she was intervied by BBC television and radio. 

Sahar is truly inspirational. She has recently reached her Keele University SU Platinum Volunteering Award, and has contributed 270 hours to charitable causes and community support, and shows no sign of stopping yet. She deserves every bit of recognition that she gets. Well done, Sahar. Keele is proud of you!




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