Maslow's Community Shop
Maslow's Community Shop
'D' was referred to us from an organisation called Freedom from Torture.
He had made a long, arduous journey to Scotland from Sudan, where he had been under political persecution. When he arrived in Glasgow, he was sent immediately to a detention centre and spent two months there.
He had been in Scotland for two years when he joined Maslow’s. He could speak very little English and was socially isolated. He appeared to be extremely shy and could not make eye contact. He volunteered once a week, was always on time and learned what to do quickly He was the model volunteer but still this sadness and fear seemed to weigh him down. He would not come downstairs when there were people in the shop, he refused drinks and lunches. He would not come to volunteer meetings or social occasions. He jumped when there was a car back firing or an explosion of laughter from the other volunteers.
We hoped that time would tell and he would begin to trust us. We could see he was getting more interested in the work at the shop front. Occasionally he came downstairs to the shop front and looked around.
One day, when he was the only Arabic speaking volunteer on shift, a newly arrived Sudanese family came to the shop and we called him downstairs to translate. He saw the family and instantly smiled a smile that lit up the room. He spoke to them, explained our procedures to them. We were astonished that he even knew how the referral system worked but he had obviously been listening, watching and learning. That was the breakthrough. He needed to see that he could help others. It was a risk and could have gone the other way, but it was a turning point.
‘D’ has been with us for nine months now. He attends college for English classes and he attends our ESOL for Work classes, where he is a star pupil. He has also completed a Community Achievement Award at Level 5.
His English and his confidence have improved to the point that he has started to joke with us. He socialises with other volunteers, eats lunch with us and now gives us all the benefit of his lovely smile.
When we asked ‘D’ if we could tell his story for this case study, he was happy to do it. He made the following comment:
“Maslow’s is good. I come here first. I just say hello, listen, watch. I scared. Now I learn English. ESOL class good. Maslow’s helps me for English, for friends. I happy to help others”