It’s easy to see why Farah Addo was crowned a “hero” by the members of Sasca.
The 34-year-old father-of-two volunteers twice-a-week at the centre on Princess Road and does his very best to support members of the Somali community needing help.
He said: “Getting the hero certificate was nice because you get recognition for the support you have given. There are a lot of elderly people who come into Sasca who can’t speak English and we support them with things like calling housing. Some of them don’t know how to use a computer so we give help with that too.
“We also make calls for them to help them make an appointment, for example. Anything that they need help with we can usually provide. We provide free phone calls and they get a warm welcome!”
Ubah Mohamed had to learn to adapt very quickly when she first came to the UK from Somalia.
Ubah, 21, said: “I was born in Somalia and came to England when I was 12. I went to three different schools, including one in London, since we never stayed in the same area. We were the only foreigners living in Openshaw. I had no Somali friends, so I had to learn English in order to communicate. I learned to express myself in about three months.”’
Ubah is currently studying children and young people’s nursing at the University of Salford, saying: “I want to make things better for the next generation and when they take over, we can leave and let them do their thing.
“I’m a volunteer for Sasca community and I’ve been involved for nearly two years now. Our first project was a big research called ‘A Hope for the Future’. I met with a lot of people who work for Sasca and they really look after the community. My view on Sasca is that it is there to support immigrants who find it difficult to get jobs.
“From Monday to Friday, there is always someone there to help you. There is something here that makes me want to stay and do more. I think they are doing a fantastic job and I hope we can meet with other Somali communities, become one and work together.”
When it comes to the future, Ubah says: “I want to make a difference, whether it is in healthcare or the community. My point is that one can make a difference and shouldn’t wait for another person to do it. We can all dream but it’s all about working towards our dreams. My favourite teacher says that ‘if you think that you can make a difference, why wait for tomorrow ,do it today’. There are a lot of barriers for young people now and it’s easy to give up, but if you find someone that believes in you and supports you, it all becomes more simple.”
Hana Mohamed made such an impression on her new home town that within one year of arriving in Manchester she was honoured as a community hero.
The 26 year old, of Chorlton Road was given the accolade by SASCA at a special ceremony to recognise those who do special work among the Somali community.
Hana moved to Manchester in 2012 after living most of her life in the UAE. It was her role as a case worker which led to her being singled out by SASCA.
The ceremony was held at the Philip Martin centre In Manchester, where Hana and three other members of the community were presented with certificates.
She said: “I helped my community by simply listening to their needs and trying to help as much as I can to meet them; its not always easy but knowing they have faith in me, makes me try the impossible.
“Being honoured by SASCA was emotional for me, knowing that my community feels proud of my contribution makes me feel appreciated.”
Moving to the UK, Hana had to learn the whole benefits system from scratch, after being told her previous qualification would not be recognised in Manchester.
Hana (pictured), who studied information communication technology at a university in Hargeisa, Somalia, said: “Moving to Manchester was very hard at first, in a lot of places I did not feel welcome. The community is the first place I felt welcomed. Why, I do not know.”
Her future plans are to stay with SASCA and to “achieve more than just the needs of the community but also to unravel their deepest struggles”.
Hana added: “I was raised by a very strong and independent women, my mother, since I am the youngest in my family I was always the one to learn from them and that shaped my personality to what it is now.”
As part of SASCA’s newspaper programme to educate young people about Somali culture and hospitality we had the opportunity to meet one of the Somali elders in Manchester, Mr Abdi Gurey who recounted to us the beauty of this culture and the generosity of the Somali people even in times of hardship and scarcity.
It is the custom of Somalis to provide for their guests with all means available. It could be the dry season when water is scarce, when the camels’ udders are empty, when the sheep are weak and the general atmosphere of the house is rather bleak and chaotic.
Yet, despite this, the family must provide food and shelter for the weary travellers who come their way no matter what. Even with most nomadic families already leading an abstemious way of life owing to their locality and meagre resources, to be able to serve a guest appropriately is highly commendable and to turn a guest away is the most dishonourable deed.
In the vast, arid countryside, where the nomadic settlers roam, hospitality is of utmost importance. Here, in these boundless miles of barren lands and parched terrains, the nomads’ lives become interdependent; so much so that hospitality has become something of an obligation upon every nomadic settler.
Regularly a nomadic family would receive a wanderer or a traveller lost for directions or people just passing by. These consist of nomads looking for their lost camels and sheep, or nomads on a long trip wishing to rest for the night, or even Qur’an teachers wishing to provide their services to the nomadic families in rural areas.
Being able to serve your guests is an honourable act and highly esteemed throughout Somali society, however inappropriate a time guests arrive.
In the nomadic lifestyle, the father who is the head of the house is aware that at any time he might receive guests and travellers, so he is always looking after his name and his honour. If a man is in possession of several milking camels, it is within his means to milk one or even two camels for his guests to serve them with fresh milk, and even slaughter them a camel.
Even during times of scarcity when milk is in short supply, when the sheep have become emaciated and the camels are taken to faraway places for grazing, Somali custom dictates that every visitor is received with open arms and cordially entertained regardless of ethnicity, region or tribal allegiance (even enemy tribes).
Many years of experience has helped Manchester’s Somali community to become a role model for integration and peace, not only in Manchester but worldwide.
The greatest challenges to bringing Somali people together were the conflicts between ethnicities originated in their homeland of Somalia.
The Somali Social Care Agency (SASCA), located in Princess Road, Moss Side was founded in 2007 and is run by the Somali community. SASCA works with Manchedter City Council and other partners to help the integration of all people.
Mohamed Jeilani, 74, who is the chairman at SASCA, proudly states: “SASCA was able to form one umbrella organisation out of six former communities for the mutual benefit of Somali people in greater Manchester.”
In a joint research project with Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) called Hope for the Future, SASCA identified three core subjects which would help the integration process: health, education and young people.
SASCA’s office is open weekdays 10am-2pm, it offers advice and informs people about public services, health and care support, social contact within and outside the community, healthy living, safe and independency in work, education and retirement.
Mr Jeilani describes Somali culture as being naturally encouraging, open and friendly to everyone. Thus, SASCA opens its office also in the afternoon, every day from 5-11pm, to watch television, play cards or just socialise.
Integration means remaining open to the influences and circumstances of your country but also learning how to show your culture and to make yourself visible, he says.
Mohamed Egeh, 54, volunteer at SASCA added: “My motor is volunteering; to do something for the community and to be open for everyone. I like to start from scratch and build up the community and solve their problems.”
SASCA is aware that it is not only Somali people who face the challenges of integration, and why it has reached out to other communities such as Arabic ones.
Next to English the office staff speak a wide range of languages, such as Somali, Swahilli, Arabic or Italian.
SASCA shares its experience with other Somali communities in Birmingham and London. Many Somali people have family around the globe and the interest of following Manchester’s success story in forming an organised community to improve the start over and finally to integrate is huge.
Mr Jeilani says that SASCA has also helped with community projects in Somalia itself, such as building schools and water purification facilities, and continues to maintain contacts with official representatives of Somalia.
Mr Mohamud added: “I hope that one day also my children will continue the community work.”
Would you like help and support to eat healthy, become more active, stop smoking, sleep soundly and manage stress? In co-operation with Manchester community health trainers, SASCA can help find ways of leading a healthier lifestyle and look at areas where you are tempted into unhealthy habits.
The benefits of healthy eating include:
n risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
· reduced change of getting cancer
· weight loss
· improved bowels
· healthier skin, nails, and hair.
The benefit of physical activity mean a reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and obesity, combating the effects of ageing, more flexible joints, tendons and ligaments; and the relief of stress and anxiety.
The benefits of quitting smoking include less chance of getting lung and heart disease, less chance of getting cancer and respiratory illnesses. Health trainer Gassim Mohammed, of the Madia Trust, said: “If you would like help and support to the health trainer service you can get in touch with any staff of SASCA then the health trainer will contact you and talk to you about the support you are looking for and the goals you would like to achieve.”
WELCOME to the first edition of Sasca News – the newspaper of the Somali Adult Social Care Agency!
The paper has been produced with the help of students from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and is here to bring you news and keep you informed of events within Manchester’s Somali community.
Sasca is based in Moss Side and is the home of the Somali Adult Social Care Agency whose volunteers work to identify the needs of the Somali community in greater Manchester.
As well as a newspaper, Sasca News also has a website where you can find all the articles in the current edition, as well as lots of other information. We have a Twitter account as well as a Facebook page updating you on the latest news as it happens.
Sasca News has been printed in both English and Somali and has been specially designed so that it can be flipped between one language and another.
We aim to bring Sasca News to the Somali community living in south Manchester and beyond.
In this edition we focus on the work of Sasca in the community and the advice it gives on housing, education health and work.
We also shine a spotlight on the volunteers who make up the Sasca team, the ‘heroes’of the organisation who go out of their way to help those in need.
There are features on Somali students and how they are getting on in the world of education, as well as an article on
A feature on Somali culture has also been written by Somali journalist Mawliid Nuur
And for the sports fans we’ve got a whole page devoted to football and basketballs teams and the mark they’re making on the world of sport in Manchester.
Sasca News has been produced jointly by volunteers at Sasca and the journalism department at MMU. Journalism lecturer Dave Porter and a team of students from the undergraduate course helped Sasca write, edit and design the paper and website – and will help it in producing future editions.
Sasca wanted the Somali community in Manchester to have its own voice and it was important that the newspaper – which is initially being distributed in Moss Side, Hulme and Fallowfield – was written in both English and Somali so that no members of the community would feel excluded because of a language barrier.