Sabrina Said

Sabrina Said

Sabrina Said has been nominated by Pria Bhabra. Pria says “Sabrina is a 23 year old East African student in her third year at University, studying Youth Work and Community Development.

She tells me that not only is she a young black woman, she’s underweight and dyslexic too and yet she competes in male dominated sports such as boxing. It’s not just about study and sport that Sabrina is interested in. She has a passion to support young people to participate, and to achieve their dreams.

Sabrina grew up in Leeds, surrounded by a large community, who although are very supportive of each other, are strict in their way of living.

She has always looked up to her mother and saw how much she struggled to bring women together out of isolation so that she could share information and create a safe space to support their wellbeing.”

Who has she helped?

“Sabrina joined forces with her mother to not only encourage women but also their daughters to take part in activities. Soon they were successfully leading a group of both women and young girls and were able to organise sessions with public services. Activities such as sports, poetry, crafts and drama were also put on.

Here, the girls felt able to express themselves in a safe, comfortable environment. Sabrina accessed local and voluntary sector projects who provided further support and encouragement. None of this was easy because of male dominance in the community that still kept many women away. But Sabrina’s passion to support young people continued to grow.

Sabrina has spoken to hundreds of high school students in the region, raising awareness of issues such as hate crime, identity and everyday challenges. She uses such opportunities to positively influence and encourage young people to embrace their dreams by encouraging self-love and to seek support freely.

She feels satisfied in giving back to young people to develop and increase their confidence and self-worth and for them to never feel that they are unworthy, or impossible for them to achieve their goals. The students are inspired and always ask questions to Sabrina as they can relate to her.”

What’s worked?

“Sabrina’s drive for her passion of sports such as boxing has helped her to encourage other young girls to look outside of the box and overcome stigma, she has also coached girls and is looked up to by many as she overcomes stereotypes, and achieving excellence in her most desired goals.

She has always been approachable and others are able to see the opportunities that they can get involved in, and improve their confidence and wellbeing. One girl asked”You are doing the unusual, but how?” This to Sabrina is encouraging as she is opening up possibilities and challenging norms for other young women.”

What has she learnt? Any challenges?

“There are so many barriers for young people and especially if it involves overcoming culture, religion, society, male dominance, gender and living in a western culture. Sabrina encourages parents to engage their children in activities but this advice is often disregarded.

Sabrina is conscious of the changing behaviours of the youth and inter-generational issues and wants parents to understand the issues better. This always worried her as she too experienced mental health issues as a result of the lack of understanding. She feels disappointed and knows that this presents a real challenge.”

What’s next?

“To continue working towards her goal of encouraging young people to grow.”

What advice, contacts or resources would help you?

“Sabrina would like to see more work around mental health for young people. She believes this should be incorporated into education so that they understand aspects of everyday life and how to deal with issues in the world that we live in. Mental Health is a huge stigma and many youth don’t even know what poor mental health looks like, how to deal with it or where or how to access support. She says “We can make change together.””

Why we’re sharing these stories

An individual or organisation from each of our five categories will be recognised at our Igniting Inspiration recognition event in November, but we want to publish all relevant stories to spread awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North!