A few words from Hassan

To whom it may concern,

I write to you regarding Sofia Mahmood and my experience with working with sofia.  I was introduced to Sofia through Mr X because she was hosting a event for young adults.  This event that she was holding was educating youngsters regarding the troubles and consequences of leading a life of crime. During this event I briefly talked with Sofia and I soon came to the realization that she was a very helpful women who had a very clear objective of guiding youngsters. When I met Sofia originally I wasn’t involved in any crime and didn’t have any bad influences in my life, I was doing my As-levels and had quite successfully passed my GCSE’s. I met with Sofia on a  number of occasions and she helped me make plans for the future and was helping me realize that I could become anything. I planned to become either an accountant but then later decide to go into the field of sport.

 

During this time I got involved with some friends who unlike me where constantly in trouble with the police and didn’t have any aspiration like myself. Soon after starting to hang around with these friends I started skiving school and then went on to leave school. I then went on to college where again my attendance was poor due to truanting with these friends. At the time I wasn’t aware that hanging around with these individuals would lead me to crime. I thought it would be ‘cool’ to have friends like the people I chose to put myself around. Sofia warned me that hanging around with this crowd could lead to me getting in trouble with the police. But as a youngster I ignored her thinking that I knew what I was doing.

 

In May 2011 I was arrested for possession of firearms and Armed robbery and received a 9 years sentence. I soon came to the realization that Sofia had been right all along. I asked my mother to get in contact with Sofia so that I could again have a role model in my life who would help me make better decisions. During my first few months in jail I personally kept in contact with Sofia and she came to visit me with my mum and told me that even though I had made a terrible mistake I could use my time in prison to learn a vocation/s which could help me upon being released. I told Sofia that I would keep her up to date via my mother but didn’t want her to see me in a place like that. My mother regularly  rang Sofia and updated her with my progress. A few weeks before being released I realized that if anyone could help me it would be Sofia, so I asked my mother to inform her of my imminent release.

I was released from prison in the first half of Dec 2015, a couple of days after being released I received a call from Sofia. I was jubilant that she had remembered me and after talking to her realized that she was able to help me.

I met with Sofia and showed her my qualifications that i had gained with the direction she had gave me. I qualified as a barber and a railway engineer. I told her of my passion for cutting hair and she said she will help me. I also had been talking with young adults whilst in prison who where behaving badly, they visited with teachers and tutors, I told them of my bad experience and how jail life was. I informed her of this and she said that she could help with pointing me in the right direction and with maybe continuing this in the community.

A few days after seeing her initially I went to see her again and she told me that she had found someone who was willing to give me a trial at a nationally recognized hair salon. I went with Sofia to talk to the owner who agreed to give me a chance once he had seen me do some work. I started two days after Sofia introduced me. Without her I would have been like a headless chicken looking for work in this time of economic difficulty. She has helped me create a future, and without her I may have slipped back into the circle of crime again even though I didn’t plan to. But by gaining a job it has gave me stability and routine in my life.

I would say to any young adult who is involved in crime or isn’t that if they would like to better themselves then they should speak with Sofia. She has helped me gain confidence and has helped with gaining work . The impact she has had on me has even helped my family. It has eased their worries, that Imay get in trouble again, but once they saw what Sofia had done for me they were extremely happy. She has helped me re-bond with them because they have seen me work which is something I have never done before.

I am so grateful that I have had someone like Sofia in my life and I hope that we can continue working and that she remains a positive figure in my life who I look up to. I can confidently say that I will always listen to Sofia without thinking that shes wrong and I’m right. After not listening the first time I got in trouble, so now I will learn from that and listen to the advice she gives me.

I again reiterate to young adults to listen to Sofia and take on board what she has to offer.

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