When Shindar arrived in the UK from Syria, he couldn’t imagine how his life would turn out in the UK.
A fierce determination and an enormous heart have powered his journey in building a life here.
Revive first met him when he accompanied his brother to our drop-in centre in Salford, to help interpret for him in a meeting with one of our caseworkers.
Shindar recognised the work we were doing and that there was a need for him. He began encouraging other friends to come along and would accompany them, to help with translation.
The content discussed in many cases is of a highly sensitive nature and so it is crucial that nothing is misconstrued. Clients must be able to trust an interpreter.
He helped his friends and friends of friends who had a low level of English with arranging meetings and generally communicating with various services.
Before long he had created quite a name for himself at Revive and we snapped him up as quick as we could to join our volunteer team.
Through regular volunteering and by attending specific training sessions, organised by Revive, he was able to develop his natural skills further.
He said: “I learnt so many skills in the training sessions and gained confidence in interpreting more and more”.
During our interview, Shindar spoke very casually to me how he began to “help people to call the GP, or the gas company”. These may seem like small things, but for someone with no English, they are tasks that may seem overwhelming and an inability to deal with them naturally can lead to undue stress.
In fact, not being able to communicate and integrate can have a direct impact on somebody’s mental health, particularly if they are already vulnerable.
Revive wasn’t the only organisation to recognise Shindar’s talent. Recovery Support is a company in Bolton, which specialises in providing support to individuals with Mental Health needs. Shindar had voluntarily interpreted for friends who used the services Recovery Support provided and had made such an impression on the team there that they invited him to work for them.
He is now happily employed and able to take on cases himself, and advise clients during their recovery.
Shindar is a testament to the great value there is in volunteering and caring for your community. He is an admirable man and a great asset to Greater Manchester.