Meet The Forum: Amina

[h4]Volunteer – Mentoring Project[/h4]

[blockquote]My family is originally from Morocco but I was born and bred in the UK. I recently graduated with a Psychology degree and hope to do a masters in Clinical Psychology in the future. I have worked for other organisations where I helped run mental health workshops, youth groups, fundraising and cultural evenings. I love writing poetry, making and listening to music, all forms of art and anything psychology/philosophy related. Oh and bookshops! I love reading.[/blockquote]

Where do you live and where have you lived?
I have lived in London pretty much all of my life. I have never lived anywhere else; London is home to me.

Why are you interested in migration?
I feel fortunate to live in the country of my birth, along with most of my family. Although I am not an immigrant, I still feel migration is very much close to my heart because both my grandparents and parents were immigrants. They migrated to Wiltshire at a time when ethnic minorities were not treated as fairly as they are today. They suffered a great deal of financial and emotional hardship and racism which have detrimental effects on them today. Many migrants and asylum seekers still suffer the same prejudices and lack of opportunities that my family faced back in the 1960’s which will hinder the emotional well-being of future British generations.

What do you do at MRCF?
I support mentors and mentees by giving information, advice and providing emotional support. I help facilitate fortnightly group sessions for women to promote health and well-being.

How did you come to work at MRCF?
I was told about MRCF by a member of my family who also volunteers with the organisation. After meeting with Francesca and other members of staff, I learnt more about the project and immediately knew it was the right place for me.

What do you think is unique about MRCF?
Every person that walks through the door at MRCF is treated with so much respect, empathy and dignity. I have been told by others who have attended activities at the centre for years that MRCF is one of the only organisations that didn’t shut the door in their facethat it was a place where they felt safe and like they were part of a family. Many people who first come to MRCF as vulnerable and fragile grow into strong members of society and are now helping support new members who are in a similar situation. The sense of community and belonging at MRCF is overwhelming, especially to members who have never had the opportunity to be part of something before.

What issues do you think are most important to migrants in London?
Culture shock is a big issue for immigrant families, especially when migration is forced (like fleeing from war). The ground, quite literally, has moved beneath their feet. People who were successful or well off in their homeland are placed in a completely different country starting from scratch and attempting to fit into a different society and deal with prejudice and misconceptions.

What are you looking forward to in the next year?
Expanding the services, activities and support groups available and more generally continuing to offer support and help to a larger number of people.

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