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A student from Leicester has received a national volunteering award for his dedication and commitment to helping refugees and asylum seekers.

Ambrose Musiyiwa, 37, from Aylestone, Leicester, has been awarded Volunteering England’s Gold Award for his work at Refugee Action Leicester, a charity which provides advice and information to refugees and asylum seekers.

The award is the only national student volunteering award that recognises achievement, dedication and leadership within further and higher education.

Ambrose, who is studying law at DMU, came to the UK in 2002 from Zimbabwe. He decided to volunteer with the charity because they had helped him when he went through the asylum process.

So far he has recorded more than 500 hours as a volunteer with the charity.

He said: “One of the reasons I have been volunteering with Refugee Action Leicester is because when I went through the asylum process the team there were some of the few people who helped me deal with the trauma that the asylum system induces. The team was very supportive and it helped me to retain a sense of who I was and where I was coming from.

“Because I experienced the UK asylum system first hand, I truly believe in what the charity is doing and will do all I can to support the organisation and other asylum seekers who are going through the process.

“Winning a volunteering award is a great honour. I feel very privileged to have the opportunity to work with such a great team.”

Amanda Soraghan from Refugee Action Leicester, said “Ambrose is a very reliable volunteer who has a great relationship with his clients and having been through the process himself, brings a new perspective to the team.

“He has helped deliver awareness of our work and has helped change people’s perspective of asylum seekers. I’m very pleased for him, he truly deserves this award.”

Three other DMU students were also awarded a Volunteering England Gold Award.

Charlotte Holland, 19, from Appledore, Kent, received her award for volunteering as a support worker with First Step, an organisation that works with male survivors of sexual abuse and rape.

Ahmad Teladia, 20, from Hackney, North London, received his award for working on a number of volunteering projects, including spending two months in Kenya helping to raise awareness on issues such as poverty, climate change and sustainable livelihoods.

Andy Heard, 45, from Hull, has been involved in many projects, including volunteering on the Leicester Nightline which provides information and support to students and working as a money mentor, helping to raise awareness of financial and money issues among students.

The students volunteer through the university’s students’ union volunteering service, DSU Volunteering.

Glen White, volunteering support officer for DSU Volunteering, said: “I am so pleased that these students have been recognised in this way. They have taken the time at university to help others and make a difference in the community."

Posted on Thursday 21st April 2011

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