“I came to the UK in April 2018 as an asylum seeker and in October I got my refugee status. So I used the six months in between to study – English, maths, computers – I tried to fill all my free time with education. Then I applied for my family to come here, through the British Red Cross.
“We’re from Yemen but there’s been war there since 2015 so we couldn’t stay. We moved to Egypt first, in 2017. In 2019 my husband and daughter came and we settled in Preston.
“I wanted to volunteer to be able to communicate with people and improve my language skills. I’d been studying English but that doesn’t give you the same chance to communicate with people and meet with native speakers.
“I’ve been volunteering with FareShare since July 2019 and also with the British Red Cross, as an interpreter in Arabic and Russian, since December 2019.
“I’ve worked all my life, since I was 20, I was a flight attendant with Yemen Airways for 18 years, so I bring experience to volunteering.
“FareShare gave me a chance to improve my English and it was very important for me for getting a job in the future. It’s given me more confidence in how to deal with different people – Europeans are very different to Middle Eastern people.
“When the country was in lockdown we were here working hard to help communities – it was very important to me to be able to help like that. We volunteers, we’re here doing a great job and each of us playing our part.”