Name: Sarah Ahmadi
Nationality: British Afghan
Occupation/Job: AMIF Project Manager North East Business Innovation Centre
Moved to the UK in 2002
Nominated by: IMIX
What does community mean to you?
To me, community means a place where we feel at home. A safe and secure environment where we are given an opportunity to socialise, better our lives and reach our full potential. Knowing that you are valued and a necessary part of a wider community allows people to have a sense of belonging. A community does not always have to be the one you grew up in, it can be one you came into and became a part of. A home away from home.
Is there one thing you’re really proud of that you have done to make your community a better place for people?
Since arriving in the UK, I have spent the last 20 years working towards bettering the community. As the chairperson of Afghan British association, I spent many years in improving the lives of others through projects and activities benefitting the BME community as well as the local community.
I went onto become co-ordinator of United Community Action, and our sole purpose was to integrate and improve the quality of life of all those in the community. As a foreigner myself, I was determined to build a strong community, where not only I could belong but also let others integrate, who have struggled in building their lives in the UK. The projects I have co-ordinated over the years have all had one objective. This is to make the community a better place for people. Through the various community-based projects, language courses, IT courses and group activity-based projects, I am proud to say today the community is stronger, larger and more accomplished than ever before.
When did you first feel at home in your community?
After arriving in the UK, I dealt with many struggles and it was difficult to see a future for myself here in the UK. However, once I began working with the community through the Afghan British Association, United Community Action, and then the North East Business Innovation Centre, I saw how much our service was needed and through this I felt like I was valued within the community. This gave me a sense of belonging and made me feel at home, a place where I was appreciated and wanted. During this point in my life, I was also studying at university to better myself and further my education and qualifications. Combined with working with the community, I felt it was a life changing moment for me as I discovered within myself a strength and desire to do all I can to not let others go through the same struggles I had when I had first come to the UK.
What made YOU want to be an ambassador for IMD?
I wanted to become an ambassador for IMD as I believe working in partnership with other organisations is a great opportunity and learning experience. Helping each other achieve more and reaching a wider range of people as well as coming together to provide better service to the community. Knowing the value IMD brings and the positive outcome of the celebration, I feel I would be a great asset as an ambassador and together we can reach a wider variety of people and make a bigger difference through our services.