BEM For Swansea University Staff Member
By Mahaboob Basha
I have been enthusiastic about volunteering for a long time and the Students’ Union created more opportunity to hone my skills when I was a full time officer in 2011-2013. I find that by helping others I also help myself. The current situation has been difficult for everyone, but I believe it is an opportunity to get to know people and assist them. People need support at the moment, physically and mentally. It is wonderful to see when you have a positive impact. I feel privileged that people in the Swansea community put their trust in me and welcomed my help. It has been fantastic to see people coming together and supporting each other as a community, it is really amazing what can happen when people look after each other.
I’ve learned a lot about my community and used that to my advantage, local knowledge such as which roads to take to get to somewhere quickly. I’ve been privileged enough to meet some real characters. In one instance I was able to help someone use zoom to contact their family, in another I made sure somebody got their groceries delivered to their door. It has been so rewarding to make things a little bit easier for people over these uncertain times.
Although I’ve been active in my community for a long time, organising practical help and co-ordinating various activities for the diverse community within South Wales has been such an enriching experience. The overall aim during the pandemic was to help people and ensure that they are in a better situation than before and sometimes this can be challenging because you can be facing things you feel totally unprepared for. But I enjoyed it, and I hope my support really helped the people in care homes.
I have been touched by messages of gratitude I have received. I think the pandemic has really highlighted the community spirit. I would never have expected to make the Queen’s Honours list. I am incredibly humbled, as a young Muslim Asian man, I never imagined myself with the letters BEM after my name. I am eternally grateful to the Sketty retirement apartment residence group, Geraint Davies MP, Dr Mohsen El-Beltagi, Councillor Peter Jones and Councillor Wendy Lewis for supporting and encouraging me to carry out the work in the first phase of Covid-19. Hopefully this will inspire more people to come forward to support the most vulnerable people in our society during this unprecedented time.
Two friends (well-wishers) who would have really celebrated with me, the late Rev Nigel John and my late Aunty Sarala would have celebrated my milestone more than anyone, I know their blessing is always with our community. My line manager Professor Andrew Barron is a great inspiration to me and very positive (in fact he had more faith in me then I had myself). When I decided that I was going to help the retirement and care home residence back in March 2020, he and Professor Parvez Ali, both great leaders and motivators to me, were very supportive. This is a special moment for me and my family. I would like to dedicate my medal particularly to my wife Sofie and son Sulaiman who are the real heroes behind my work.
Dr Mahaboob Basha BEM
External Relations and Engagement Officer
Energy Safety Research Institute (ESRI)