Volunteering – a lifeline for family from war-torn Sudan

A family seeking a ‘peaceful’ life in Telford have discovered volunteering with the Interfaith Council as a way of kick starting a new future.

Volunteering – a lifeline for family from war-torn Sudan

The Interfaith Council was set up to create unity and support for people of any faith and has meant a new start through volunteering for a Sudanese refugee and her family. 

The Interfaith group is where Sudanese refugee Sania Attia first became involved with volunteering after fleeing Sudan in north-eastern Africa, leaving behind family and friends due to violent conflict throughout the country.

Sania was put in touch with a team of people, helping residents with breakfast parcels during lockdown at the Leegomery Community Centre.

It has now been 12 months since Sania first met the team and has given more than 70 hours of her time back, helping prepare food parcels for other people experiencing difficulties. 

Sania said: “I know how it feels to have things go wrong in your life and I’m a happy to be helping people who are finding things hard like my family. 

“Volunteering means that I can give something back to the community that helped me and I have made some very good friends here – the people here are like my family now. 

“I’m learning English and new skills so I can find work – I am so happy to have found such a wonderful community in Telford, life was very difficult in Sudan. 

“There is a war and lots of fighting so we couldn’t have a normal life, it was too dangerous for our children.” 

During the pandemic, Telford & Wrekin Council provided funding to support residents with food parcels and with help from organisations such as the Interfaith Council and many others, were able to provide support to the most vulnerable. 

Chair of Telford & Wrekin Interfaith Council, Councillor Raj Mehta said: “Everyone in life struggles from time to time and as Telford is such a diverse community it’s important that we reach out to those who will not know about the help and support that could be available. 

“Sania has been a ray of sunshine in the last few months, her positivity has helped us all through some difficult months and she has helped the Interfaith community achieve its’ goal of supporting our communities and building friendships that will last a lifetime. 

“We are thankful for her efforts in giving something back and we love having her with us.”

Now, Sania’s husband has found employment, her children are doing well at school and she is developing skills that have helped her become part of the community and no longer feels isolated.  

Sania added: “The community centre has been a lifeline and the friends we have made here mean we are starting to live a normal life where we have equality and peace. We are blessed to living and working here.  

“Telford is such a beautiful place, the people are so kind and it is so green and we are very happy to be building a new life here for our children. 

If you would like to get involved, there are lots of ways to volunteer. 

More information is available online at www.telford.gov.uk/volunteering or email:getinvolved@telford.gov.uk 

To work with the Interfaith Council visit http://interfaithtelford.org/