Minister of the Month: Nura Abdo
This month, we introduce volunteer writing mentor Nura Abdo!
We couldn’t be more pleased to share this interview with her, in celebration of Volunteer Week.
“My name is Nura, I’m a housewife with six children – and at the same time I’m a student as well! So I’m very busy. Both roles are equally tough and rewarding.
I was born in Eritrea but came to the UK in 1996, Hackney feels like home now. I like living here for the good hospital and colleges to study in. But sometimes I’m so busy with the children and college that I don’t get to see local people or make friends of my own. So it would be really nice to do that.
I enjoy going shopping and visiting family, and my greatest achievement in life is being the mother of six children. All my children are well behaved and make me proud.
My favourite books are stories about ancient prophets and religion, all kinds of religion. I love reading about the past and characters of faith and considering the meaning of these stories.
I decided to volunteer as a writing mentor with MoS because I wanted to study and find a job in childcare. So I needed to gain experience in working with children and improve my confidence. I was so nervous! I had never worked with any children except my own before.
Mentoring has been a really good experience for me. I joined the team working at Randal Cremer school with an after school club on Wednesdays.
I learnt so much and the best parts were talking with the children, listening to the other mentors and workshop leaders and learning from being in that situation every week.
I was surprised at how much difference the workshops made to the children. I worked with one boy who wouldn’t write at all, not a word.
But he came back the next week and wrote a little bit, and then a lot – and he was totally different. Maybe that meant he started writing in his classes at school too, I don’t know. It could have changed a lot for him. He changed so much.
Ministry of Stories gives encouragement and helps children to write. This helps the children so much, because these skills will help them to study, learn, go to university and get a good job when they grow up.
My confidence has completely changed since mentoring with the Ministry of Stories. I was so scared on my first week! I was so nervous. But every week I felt less worried and now I’m almost never scared. If I keep mentoring, I’ll be completely confident!
I think local parents and adults can benefit from volunteering with Ministry of Stories by getting experience of working with children or in the shop, which can also help to find a paid job.
It’s a really good environment to meet people, it’s very friendly and you can share ideas and listen to other people.
In five years I would like to see the Ministry of Stories going into more local schools and also as a bigger building, with room for more children and after school clubs every day of the week.”