Hicham is an asylum seeker who has been in Ireland since 2015. Born in Morocco and having spent time in South Africa, Hicham has a wealth of life experience – he is trained in IT and has worked running a B&B and as a Kitchen Manager in a Greek restaurant in Johannesburg. More recently, Hicham has undertaken a course in Trinity College so that he may one day run for the local elections.
Living in a Direct Provision centre in Clondalkin, Hicham was keen to get involved in his community as soon as he arrived. He plays football with the Dublin Devils and runs 5k at his local Parkrun every Saturday. He is a member of the South Dublin County Volunteer Corps where he volunteers with local events and festivals, most recently helping to organise the local St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Clondalkin. He also coordinates visits of residents in the centre go to all Shamrock Rovers’ home matches in Tallaght Stadium as part of sponsored partnership with the Hoops.
We asked Hicham why he volunteers and he told us it’s simply ‘in his blood’. “Volunteering is natural to me, it’s now my mother brought me up since I was a baby. I love making other people happy – that’s what makes me the happiest. I love to integrate, meet new people and make new friends. I can also bring something of my culture to Irish culture when I volunteer. Irish people are very friendly, they have welcomed me with open arms and I would love to do more.”
What piece of advice would he give someone who has never volunteered before? “Volunteering will make you happy. Even if you are happy now, volunteering will make you happier. When you are not from Ireland it can help you make friends and learn things about Ireland you never knew before. It will also make you feel like you’re doing something good.”