25 October 2017
Rabia Nasimi came to the UK aged five years old as a refugee from Afghanistan. She has come to Lucy Cavendish College to study a Sociology PhD, whilst continuing her family’s charity work to support refugee integration to the UK.
Rabia arrived in the UK in 1999 concealed in a container, after fleeing the war in Afghanistan. She completed her schooling in the UK before studying for a BA in Sociology and Politics at Goldsmiths University of London, where she wrote a dissertation on the contemporary crisis of Afghan national identity and the rejection of identifying oneself as an 'Afghan'. She then studied an MSc Sociology (Research) at the London School of Economics and wrote her dissertation on Ethnicity and Politics in Afghanistan looking at the 2014 Parliamentary Elections.
Her family founded a charity called the ACAA (Afghanistan and Central Asian Association) in 2001 to support refugee integration in the UK through services such as ESOL, supplementary school, mentoring, advice and events. They were thrilled to receive funding in 2013 from DfID to run two Citizens' Advice Bureaus in Kabul and Baghlan provinces. In her role at the ACAA, Rabia has supported and mentored many volunteers, all of whom are now working in the government and the charity sector.
Rabia plans to continue her charity work whilst here in Cambridge, and hopes to grow support here by raising awareness of refugees organising fundraising events. She will also use her role as BAME Editor for the College magazine, The Cavendish Chronicle as a platform to share stories and amplify voices.
“As a refugee myself, supporting refugees in the UK and supporting Afghans in Afghanistan is a great accomplishment for my family and I couldn't be prouder.
I want to be the driver of change in Afghanistan, particularly in relation to Women's Empowerment and Lucy Cavendish College is definitely the best place to start. I hope that once I finish my PhD in Sociology I can be even more directly involved in improving the lives of Afghans through work in the UK or Afghan government. I’d like to support the restoration of the Afghanistan government, economy and society in the years to come.”
To find out more about the ACAA, please visit their website here.
Rabia's story was covered by the Cambridge News on 24 October 2017. Read it here.