Compassion without borders: How Basma is celebrating refugee week

A person sitting in a grassy field

Basma is a current guardian in one of our east London properties. A refugee from Egypt, she is a passionate volunteer within the refugee community and advocate for ending violence against women and girls.

In the run up to Refugee Week, we spoke to Basma about her volunteering past and present.

Compassion without borders

Basma currently volunteers with Forward UK, the leading African women-led organisation working to end violence against women and girls.

“Most recently, I’ve been organising an event to celebrate Refugee Week,” Basma tells us. “We will be discussing the impact refugees have played in society and how their stories inspire us to be compassionate.”

“Through my years of volunteering I’ve built connections and strong networks in the sector so I’m best placed to invite guest speakers and panelists from within the refugee community.”

The power of stories

Basma first came to the UK four years ago on a year-long volunteer programme.

“Expanding Horizons is an ERASMUS project,” Basma explains. “I arrived in Liverpool and I volunteered with women and African minorities who had experienced violence.”

Last year, Basma traveled to France to volunteer with refugees in Calais which, she tells us, was a life-changing experience. “I was lucky enough to come to the UK with a visa. In Calais, I heard the stories of people who were brave enough to cross countries and continents without this privilege.”

Giving back

When searching for low-cost housing alternatives to private rent, Basma was drawn to Dot Dot Dot’s volunteer-based approach.

“As a Dot Dot Dot guardian,” she explains, “I use some of my spare time to volunteer every month – to give to others the support I received when I first came to the UK.”

“Volunteering plays an important role in my life,” she goes on. “Not only has it allowed me to build up a really comprehensive set of professional skills, it has also allowed me to build connections and find people who share my values in life.”