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Queens Award for Voluntary Service

Written by Matthew Durkin – Volunteer at ACAA

The ACAA is thrilled to announce that we have been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service.

When Dr. Nooralhaq Nasimi first launched the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association in 2001 as a community group for the small but growing Afghan community in London, he hardly could have imagined that within just 18 years the organisation would be transformed into a thriving grassroots charity that plays a vital role in helping London’s refugees. This extraordinary journey has been propelled by the tireless efforts and dedication of the charities volunteers and this year their selfless contributions have been recognised by the highest possible award for British volunteer groups, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

ACAA director, Dr. Nooralhaq Nasimi, described the award as “recognition of the hard work the ACAA team have put into helping refugees integrate and settle into British culture, so that one day, they can too, give back to the community.”

The award has been described as the MBE of the charity world and is presented in recognition of the key role and contributions of volunteers towards outstanding charitable work. We at the ACAA are incredibly proud the central role volunteers play in every aspect of the charities operation and are honoured to accept the award on their behalf. Volunteers are key to every aspect of the charities work and take on responsibilities as diverse as delivering lessons, writing funding applications, designing new services and advising beneficiaries on housing issues.

The incorporation of volunteers into every aspect of the organisation also helps give the ACAA its unique atmosphere and culture. The central aim of the ACAA is to bring communities together and one of the ways we achieve this is by bringing together a diverse group of volunteers united by a common goal of helping some of societies most marginalised people. Cross cultural and interfaith dialogue and cooperation occurs everyday at the ACAA office and contributes to our open door and inclusion policies.

“We hope that at ACAA, we can continue our work to improve our services, so that we can facilitate crucial dialogue and understanding of the different cultures and faiths within Britain, and enable refugee communities to flourish in the UK.” – Dr. Nooralhaq Nasimi

Every service the ACAA offers is delivered by volunteers who also carry out much of the day to day administration and back office work that keeps the charity running, but volunteers benefit from this arrangement as well. They have the opportunity to gain experience in a wide range of areas, from project management to strategy and planning to communication and external relations. The ACAA strives to ensure we maintain a symbiotic relationship with all volunteers, ensuring that they learn and gain as much from us as we do from them. Ultimately, however, volunteers are still giving up their time unpaid simply for the joy of helping those less fortunate.

On the 2nd of June the ACAA accepted the Queens Award for Voluntary Service on behalf of all our volunteers and we would like to take this opportunity to thank them for the hard work and invaluable support.

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