Shabibi Shah has a degree in journalism from Kabul University. Before fleeing Afghanistan in 1984 with her husband and three children, she spent twelve years teaching in the Women’s Institute of Kabul. Upon settling in the UK as a refugee, Shabibi attended adult education classes and studied English. She has two certificates from the National Open College Network for Bilingual Counselling and Interpreting, and has worked for many years as an interpreter. Shabibi is a Trustee of the Ruth Heyman Trust, a charity that promotes education for refugees in the UK, and served as the Chair of Afghan Association Paiwand’s Board of Trustees for three years. Shabibi has written her autobiography, Where Do I Belong, and two books of poetry in her native language of Farsi.
Charles has a post-graduate diploma in Child Care and have over 20 years of experience as a Team Manager in a Local Authority Social Services (including budget management). He was self-employed for two years and currently acts as a Trustee for three small charities. Charles has extensive experience in the charity sector, including chairing meetings, recruiting, supporting and supervising staff and working cross-culturally. He has have travelled in Asia and Africa. Besides charity work Charles is interested in long distance walking, languages, singing and gardening.
Karen worked as Paiwand’s Advocacy Project Manager to develop the Advocacy service and help it grow for over two years. She was elected to Paiwand’s Board in August 2012.
Karen is a law graduate, and currently works as a Barrister at 1 Gray’s Inn Square chambers in central London. Karen has appeared before the Asylum and Immigration chamber of both the Upper Tribunal and the First-Tier Tribunal in respect of asylum, deportation and immigration bail proceedings. She has also appeared in the High Court and County Court for both trials and applications in a range of civil matters including road traffic accidents, possession proceedings, personal injury claims and applications for charging orders. She is regularly instructed on behalf of the defence in the Youth, Magistrates’ and Crown courts in respect of a range of offences including dishonesty, violence, public order, road traffic and drugs. As well as defence work, Karen has also prosecuted on behalf of both the Crown Prosecution Service and the National Probation Service.
She holds an MA (Hons) History and International Relations from the University of Aberdeen, as well as a Graduate Diploma in Law from the College of Law, London.
Samira graduated in 2006 with a BA honours degree in French and Hispanic studies at the University of Sheffield. She first started to volunteer with asylum seekers and refugees while in Sheffield through the Refugee Council.
As part of a befriending scheme she worked with a family from Burma and soon learnt about the persecution, injustices and barriers to integration asylum seekers and refugees face in the UK.
Post University Samira became involved with the British Red Cross Refugee Orientation project in Norwich, her home town. She also became involved with the Anchor Project , a Charity working primarily with unaccompanied minors, when she first moved to London in 2007. Samira left London in September of 2007 to work in Rwanda with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) for a year. She coordinated an HIV and AIDS prevention project in secondary schools and community groups in the southern district of the country. Her interest in working with refugees led her to provide training and support to the local refugee camp, which housed over 2000 Burundian refugees.
At the end of 2008 Samira began working for Barnet Refugee Service as the Volunteer Coordinator. In February of 2009 a position became available for a Refugee Youth Worker and Samira jumped at the chance. The role involved working for both BRS and the Afghan Association Paiwand.
Samira left BRS and Paiwand in September 2010 to start an MA in Social Work. However due to continued interest and wish to support the organisation she became a trustee in November 2011. Samira is a qualified social worker and works with Children Looked After for the Harrow Children Services.
Fahima has gained her degree in Social Sciences from Birkbeck, University of London in 2014. Prior to that, She studied Media for two years. She also holds a foundation diploma in Digital Marketing and a certificate in Business and Administration.
Her work history includes employment for the Afghan Embassy in London in 2008, Save the Children’s visual production for Guardian in 2011 and NHK Cosmo Media; a Japanese Media company in 2015. In 2016 she worked with refugees abroad including working as a Protection Assistant and a Protection team leader in Greece.
She is interested in civil society and community work and has the experience of chairing an Afghan women’s group in Westminster.
Malgorzata holds an MA Education from Poland, and hasbeen involved in youth and educational settings in both London and Poland for fifteen years. She has experience managing youth and community projects, international youth exchanges and multicultural workshops for young people. She also took part in conflict resolution and community mediation projects in East London.
Malgorzata started at Whitefield School as a Teaching Assistant in January 2005, and in September 2006, she was appointed as the Full Service Extended School Manager, where she was responsible for the day-to-day management of FSES. She worked alongside the school’s Inclusion Team and local partner organisations on a number of projects for the students, their parents and the local community. She has also worked closely with Paiwand’s Advocacy, Education and Youth Project Managers on developing and managing activities and services for refugee and migrant communities who reside within the vicinity of Whitefield School.
Laura is currently the Head of the ESOL Department in a large London FE College and has worked with refugees for over 10 years. She has worked as a teacher trainer and an ESOL teacher and graduated from Cambridge University in 2002 with an MA in Modern Languages. Laura has a keen interest in mentoring young people and has mentored two people from Afghanistan and one from Nigeria.
In her spare time Laura enjoys being active: in 2015 she and her partner climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and raised over £3000 for refugee charities.