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Alumna Rabia Nasimi tells us about her post-graduation journey and her mission to improve people’s lives

Rabia recently graduated from Lucy Cavendish College after completing an MPhil in Sociology.

She is currently working at the Department of Health and Social Care as a social researcher, looking into Covid-19 and everything related. Her team provides analysis to help ensure government policy is robust, inclusive, and shaped by the very best data and research. Despite the gravity of the pandemic, she has hugely enjoyed working in a highly topical government department, having to respond to fast-changing developments in the news.

Although initially planning to embark on a PhD, Rabia decided now was an opportune moment to go into government work, to be able to gain experience in public policy research and implementation. As someone who has worked in the charity sector for many years whilst in education, she had developed a passion for improving people’s lives. 

Rabia comments:

“I enjoy working at a grassroots level and observing the real difference this makes, most especially in the refugee community served by the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association; however I wanted to do compassionate work at a wider level, hence why I decided to join the Civil Service. This way, I can hopefully make a difference to more communities across the country. At the same time, I can now gain additional skills as a public policy specialist.”

Rabia’s experience in the voluntary sector has given her a broad understanding of social issues in today’s world, in particular the struggles of integration and how to empower individuals. She has learnt to be innovative and resourceful, making sure that any initiative is properly funded and efficient; principles that are crucial to the work of the Civil Service. Additionally, the importance of collaboration and partnership with other organizations in the charity sector is highly relevant to government work, where inter-departmental cooperation is vital to developing effective solutions.

Rabia continues:

“I came to Britain as a refugee when I was very young and have consequently enjoyed the privilege of a high-quality education, something that is tragically denied to so many Afghan women. Having attended Goldsmiths, the LSE and Cambridge, I am now very excited to be in the world of work contributing to society as a Civil Servant. Like all my family and many other Afghans, I have a strong desire to give back to the country that has given me so many wonderful opportunities.”

About Rabia

Alumna Rabia Nasimi (MPhil, Sociology) is a former Afghan refugee who fled Afghanistan with her family in 1999 and arrived in the UK in the back of a refrigerated container. In 2001 the family established the Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (ACAA), a charity dedicated to improving the lives of Afghans and all refugees in London. She volunteered with the organisation from the beginning, and became the Strategic Development Manager responsible for designing and shaping the organisation’s long-term strategy as well creating and launching new services such as the ACAA's supplementary school for struggling refugees or the ESOL for Integration programme. In 2017 she was nominated for the Lewisham Mayor’s Award for contributions to Lewisham. In 2018 she was nominated for the WeAreTheCity Rising Stars Award and shortlisted for the Women of the Future Award, and for the Asian Voice Charity Awards in the most inspiring young person category for her work advocating refugee rights both in the UK and Afghanistan. Now, she works at the Department of Health and Social Care.