Local Heroes: Young refugee works hard to keep Victoria Park charity going during coronavirus pandemic

Hassan (Centre) started in the charity's Risers programme and then became a Breadwinner alumni. Befo

Hassan (Centre) started in the charity's Risers programme and then became a Breadwinner alumni. Before the lockdown he was employed as a Breadwinner store manager and now runs its online bread store. Picture: Breadwinners - Credit: Breadwinners

A young refugee’s work managing the delivery service of a South Hackney charity has meant it can continue providing vital services, support and training during the coronavirus pandemic.

Some of Hassan's happy customers. Picture: Breadwinners

Some of Hassan's happy customers. Picture: Breadwinners - Credit: Breadwinners

Hassan Abdullahi, 18, joined Breadwinners in February 2019 after coming to the UK as an asylum seeker from Somalia. His east African home, located in the Horn of Africa, has suffered from a decades old civil war that is still ongoing.

Hassan told the Gazette: “I left to get a better life and to be safe.”

But he says arriving in London would have been much more difficult if he hadn’t found Breadwinners. The charity gave him the opportunity to train, learn new skills and eventually land a job paying a living wage. Hassan has continued to progress and work his way up in the social enterprise ever since.

“Imagine you come to this country and you don’t have family, you don’t have friends and your English is very bad. Just imagine and then how do you get job? That’s what happened to me.” he said.

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Based in Victoria Park, the social enterprise he works for employs refugees to sell high quality organic bread at farmer’s markets across London but it’s made the decision to shut down all of its stalls due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Breadwinners also provides training and experience to people seeking asylum who aren’t eligible for work yet.

The delivery service Hassan runs is vital to the charity and means young refugees and asylum seekers who would usually work on Breadwinners’ stalls can still get support and training while self-isolating.

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He coordinates all the orders Breadwinners gets and thinks of new ways to optimise delivery routes which has become trickier as demand for its artisan breads and buns grows.

People within refugee communities can suffer greatly from feelings of isolation as many must overcome language barriers and rebuild social networks in a new country.

Still, Hassan says he has made many friends since he started his first job at Breadwinners and says customers often encourage and thank him for the job he does.

This is the first time Hassan has ever managed an online store and he says he’s still learning.

He told the Gazette: “It can be really hard work when you don’t have any family but Breadwinners is becoming my family.”

To find out more about Breadwinners visit https://www.breadwinners.org.uk/.

To make an order click here and to donate click here

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