Story by Farhaan Warsame | Photo by Sahra Abdi
Sahra Abdi is the manager of a local football team (Future Football Stars of Burngreave). Sahra came from Somalia in 1992 at the age of seven and, although there wasn’t much of a Somali community at the time, she began to make Sheffield her home.
Sahra took full advantage of education opportunities here. She worked hard and began giving back to the community as soon she left school. She has a long varied list of accomplishments, such as GNVQ in social care, Somali interpreter at a doctor’s practice, working at a citizen’s advice worker, admin at the sickle cell foundation and women’s woodwork!
When Sahra’s children were born she left her paid job to care for her family while also looking at her community’s needs, particularly children’s needs and Somali women’s needs. She said:
“When I was young, in Somalia, there were not any activities but we had enough spaces to play and climb the trees. Here, children stay home and just watch TV or play computer games because there are no activities. So children just hang around, sometimes getting in trouble out of boredom.”
Therefore she wanted to find activities for her children and other children as well. So she contacted Sheffield United FC who offered funding and free training sessions to children in the area.
“I love being a football manager and feel proud that I made this happen. The children really look forward to it.”
The sessions take place on Saturdays. They are for young boys under thirteen and girls under eight. More than 40 children attend on a regular basis. Much more than football goes on here – working as a team is an important life skill. The kids also do a litter pick in the area to keep the community tidier.
Sahra also helps out at Pitsmoor Adventure Playground and runs a women’s social group in Sorby House where women who might otherwise be quite isolated can meet, chat, have days out together and share information about events and resources.