On International Women’s Day, we would like to celebrate three of our wonderful volunteers in our Peer Integration Project.

Ahlam Al-Bashiri is our Peer Development Coordinator, coordinating the project. The Peer Integration Project supports volunteers, who have lived refugee experience themselves, to support other refugees to access their rights. 

At Scottish Refugee Council the Peer Project is an important part of the service we provide, and the three women who we wish to celebrate are so important to the work we carry out.


Firstly, Olena, who came from Ukraine because of the Russian invasion. She had to seek safety in the UK in October 2022. Leaving her home was tough, but staying in Ukraine wasn’t safe. Olena used to be a teacher and enjoyed her job. The war altered everything, but she believes where there’s life, there’s hope.

Currently in Glasgow, she is reconstructing her life. Olena works as a Peer Volunteer at the Scottish Refugee Council, taking pride in aiding Ukrainian refugees and other refugee communities in Scotland.


Mary is a single mother and an asylum seeker from Kenya. She is a Peer volunteer who mentioned that volunteering with the Peer project empowers her through the training provided to volunteers. It offers valuable information, teaches new skills, provides opportunities to those in need, and helps her to work with refugee communities.

She mentioned how peer sessions went very well. Everyone engaged, using English and Arabic, with other languages making participants comfortable to talk and share experiences. It was evident many refugees and asylum seekers face similar difficulties.


Rahaf, from Syria, is a mother of two. She started as a family support worker five years ago. Working with Syrian families, she became skilled in translating Arabic to English. Her work involves supporting families, engaging them in community events, and advocating for them.

Rahaf has also worked in community development and literacy services, gaining valuable experience. She is an amazing peer volunteer, and her background and skills are a great fit for working with us.

She mentioned remembering the challenges she faced when she first came to Scotland and didn’t know where to seek help. Being a peer volunteer, she aims to support refugees in Scotland and prevent others from facing similar problems.


Keep an eye on this page for future volunteering opportunities!

Chris Afuakwah
Author: Chris Afuakwah