Helal Atayee

I am a refugee from Afghanistan. After graduating from High School in Afghanistan I worked as a project manager in Samaritan’s Purse International Relief (NGO) for 18 months. My passion for helping others led me to go to Turkey to study medicine in 2004. I graduated as a medical doctor in 2011 and returned to Afghanistan to work as a doctor but due to difficulties and unrest in Afghanistan I had no choice but to leave my country. I came to the UK in 2012. Finding my statues and identity was not an easy task in the UK. I started working as a volunteer Health Befriender and a senior Healthcare Assistant in Ashton Lodge and Refugee Council between 2012 and 2014.

I joined NCG as a volunteer befriender in 2015 which gave a structure to my life. This voluntary position helped me a great deal in medical field because I was registering refugees/asylum seeker with GPs, Opticians, Dentists, taking them to hospital appointments and acting as an interpreter, it helped me a lot with my medical knowledge keeping me in the loop. The most important support I received from NCG was the financial support to do my English and Medical PLAB exam costs which enabled me to qualify as a doctor in Sept 2015.

Becoming a qualified doctor gave me the opportunity to work with the Doctors of The World Project as well as teaching medicine at Common Stations Medical Training Course (it is a medical training course teaching overseas doctors to qualify as a registered doctor in the UK) followed by my official employment as a doctor in Newham University Hospital. My long term plan is to become a Cardiology Consultant in the UK.

New Citizens’ Gateway is a great organisation passionately supporting those in need. As a small contribution to NCG I joined the Board of Trustees in July 2015 and hope that my life experience as a refugee together with my medical background can help the management committee of NCG to govern this valuable organisation and develop services further based on identified needs.