Haringey Law Centre is delighted that our fantastic volunteer Farhad Ali has won the 2017 Haringey Hero (Volunteer) of the Year award!!!!
On Friday 24th November 2017, Farhad attended the awards ceremony of the Haringey Community Impact Awards, which took place in Tottenham Town Hall. The Haringey Community Impact Awards are held annually to celebrate grassroots community groups and voluntary organisations in the borough who have combined effective community service with innovative and sustainable practices to improve the lives of Haringey residents. Special consideration is given to groups or organisations who have overcome limited resources and involved volunteers in the delivery of activities to address significant disadvantages.
Farhad Ali (pictured above at the awards with Peter Baker, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Haringey) has volunteered with Haringey LC since 2014. Farhad comes from Kurdistan in the North of Iraq. During the Iraqi civil war, when he was 18, Farhad was shot by Iraqi soldiers and left paralysed from the waist down. Medical treatment in Kurdistan was unsuccessful and so Farhad’s family raised money for him to come to Europe to see if doctors here could help him. Farhad went to France and while he was there he was interviewed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Farhad had a cousin in the United Kingdom and so decided to apply to come here as a refugee. After hearing what happened to him in Kurdistan, the Home Office approved Farhad’s visa and he came to the UK in December 2002.
When he arrived in the UK, Farhad couldn’t speak a word of English but being bright and ambitious – and despite the horror he’d experienced in Kurdistan – he enrolled himself on an ESOL course at the College of North East London. Farhad did so well on the course that his teachers suggested he try and pass the ‘English for Academic Purposes’ course (the equivalent of a GCSE). Farhad passed with flying colours and then enrolled onto a university access course. He studied ‘Access to Law’ at Waltham Forest College (the equivalent of an A level) and passed. He then went on to study for his Law Degree at Middlesex University after receiving offers from 3 different universities.
Farhad then decided he wanted to give something back to the UK and started volunteering with Haringey Law Centre in October 2014. Since then, Farhad has become an integral and valued member of our team. Still only a volunteer, Farhad’s responsibilities are wide and varied. He does everything from staffing reception and dealing with phone enquires. He conducts complex client interviews and undertakes legal work assisting Haringey Law Centre’s solicitors and caseworkers to draft letters and documents and prepare legal bundles. Farhad is now also studying for a qualification that will allow him to advise on immigration law matters. Haringey Law Centre has no doubt that Farhad will become a brilliant solicitor.
Farhad was presented with his award by Cllr Eugene Ayisi, Cabinet Member for Communities. WATCH the exciting moment Farhad was presented with his award.
Haringey Law Centre trustee Ruth Hayles, Development Officer Miranda Grell and Farhad’s brother Kamaran attended the awards to support Farhad and celebrate his achievement with him.
Reacting to the news he won the award, Farhad Ali said: “I feel so happy and I am so proud. My volunteer work at Haringey Law Centre has been appreciated and recognised. It helps me to feel more optimistic about my future because I want to be a solicitor. I particularly want to be an immigration solicitor because I know how difficult and stressful it can be for people fleeing persecution and trying to come to the UK. Many of them have nothing. They are just trying to survive. As an immigration solicitor, I will be able to try and them people’s lives better. I wilkl be able to fight for them to help them obtain their status. I will be able to help them to try and make their dreams come true“.
Haringey Law Centre Manager Victor Amadigwe said: “It’s amazing. I am very pleased. Over the past three years, Farhad has been a dedicated and reliable Haringey Law Centre volunteer. He is keen and hardworking. Despite the many personal challenges he has faced, Farhad has shown that there is no barrier to his ambitions to be independent and of service to his local community. He has shown that people can still make it. The award is also great encouragement and a boost to morale to everyone at Haringey Law Centre. We can only run our service thanks to our volunteers. We hope that Farhad’s award will encourage other wonderful Haringey residents like him to come forward and join us as a volunteer”.
Congratulations to Farhad and to all the other brilliant winners at the 2017 Haringey Community Impact awards!!!!!