Minister of the Month – Sarah Abedin
Meet our Minister of the Month Sarah Abedin. Sarah brims with energy and enthusiasm and has our young writers seek her out, knowing they’ll find a warm welcome and friendly support.
Name: Sarah Abedin
Volunteer role: Writing mentor
Live: Bethnal Green
Favourite story and why:
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It’s got Satan, witches and a talking cat that drinks vodka and carries a gun. Full on Russian bonkers-ness – what’s not to like!
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m a copywriter in healthcare advertising, I have a three-legged cat called Captain Chunk and I’ve somehow managed to cram around 700 books into my one-bed flat.
Why did you decide to volunteer with the Ministry of Stories?
I’d been looking for a way to volunteer in child or adult literacy when the Ministry popped up on a google search. I had no idea anywhere like it existed and I was so excited I accidentally submitted the online form about eight times. I’ve written stories and poems since about the age of ten (they got very teen-angsty in the late 90s!) so to be able to pass on that passion was an amazing opportunity.
Were you nervous about anything before starting?
I haven’t been around kids much, and I was a sarcastic nightmare of a child, so I was braced for the worst! I was worried I wouldn’t know what to say to them, and at the start I didn’t, but that’s true of anyone you meet.
What has been the best experience of volunteering?
I’ve worked with the same group fairly regularly for a long time, and getting to know them, seeing them develop and being part of their lives has been a real privilege.
What has been the most unexpected thing about volunteering?
That children (seem to) like me and want to talk to me! Also, the random questions like “Miss, did you donate your hair?” I hadn’t even had it cut!
Has volunteering changed anything in your life?
Talking to the children about what they want for their future reminded me of what I wanted when I was that age. So I’ve handed my notice in at work, not always an advisable thing to do, to give myself time to write. I can’t do that in London so I won’t be able to volunteer for a while, but I’ll be back, like Arnie but without the threat of violence.
Describe the Ministry of Stories in three words:
Inspiring, unique, empowering
What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering with the Ministry?
What’s stopping you? You’ll never know what it’s like unless you try it.