Ahmad, a Syrian refugee, is a clinic support worker at our London clinic.>
“When I first came to the UK, I spent six months feeling completely isolated. All I knew was that I wanted to rebuild my life and have a future again.
I’m a highly qualified medical doctor from Syria. But, when I was about to complete my specialist training in oncology, I was arrested by government forces. I spent six months in jail, where I was tortured both mentally and physically.
I was detained just because I was saving lives. I’d been going to clinics in towns under government siege, sometimes using secret underground passages to get there. It was impossible for me, as a doctor and as a human being, to do nothing when I knew that people were in need.
I fled to Lebanon in 2014, after I was released from prison, and I was later granted leave to resettle in the UK.
I volunteer for Doctors of the World for many reasons. Firstly, this work makes a difference for many people who need medical care.
Most of our patients are undocumented migrants. I always do my best to help them feel free from mental distress – I tell them I’m here to help and I’ll do whatever I can. We sometimes spend hours calling surgery after surgery to find someone who’ll register one of our patients. You have to be persistent.
Volunteering has helped my language skills, and has helped me understand how the NHS works. I’m studying to practice medicine in the UK and I have big dreams for my future. I want to be an oncologist in the UK and I also want work as a doctor for Doctors of the World overseas, so I can help refugees in Europe.
My work at the clinic is very rewarding. When I follow up on a patient’s case and see that something good has happened, I feel so happy, and I start thinking about the next thing I can do to help them. I recently learnt a phrase from the English dictionary: ‘Let down.’ I hate this phrase. I never want to let others down.”