Zakya and her family came to the UK four years ago. Originally from Homs in Syria, she worked in her father’s beauty wholesale business. When Syria descended into civil war, her life and the lives of her family were put at risk and they decided to leave for their own safety. After spending five years in Lebanon, they were finally granted asylum in the UK. They were resettled in Lambeth and have been there ever since. 

Zakya has really made the most of her time in the UK so far. She has become a pillar in her local refugee community and strives to help everyone she can. 

Laura, a Single Homeless Project Refugee Resettlement Worker, has been impressed by how, despite experiencing the trauma of civil war and displacement, Zakya can still put all her energy into supporting others. 

Zakya is the go-to for anyone who needs help. She can do anything! She has worked tirelessly to learn English so that she can act as a translator. She takes people to medical appointments, attends school meetings with them and even picks up prescriptions. 

She has a calm, modest and practical way of offering help to those in need and she never asks for any recognition. I’m so glad that she is being identified as a Single Homeless Project hero because that’s exactly what she is. 

Before the pandemic, Zakya achieved food safety qualifications enabling her to cater professionally. She also worked as a teaching assistant in a school and taught Arabic. Now that pandemic restrictions are starting to lift, she is keen to get back to work. 

“I love cooking. Syrian food is delicious and I want to share it with people in London. I have catered a few events in the past. I had to stop over the pandemic but can’t wait to get back to it.” 

And how does Zakya feel about being called a Single Homeless Project hero? 

“I’m very happy but it was unexpected! I want to help people who are struggling because I know how it feels to be helpless. The support I received helped me to make a life in London and I want to help others to do the same.”