An ex-drug addict turned his life around to help others in his community dealing with the same struggles.
Rafik Ahad, 35, from Mansfield, misused substances for 10 years before recovering and becoming a mentor for drug addicts in Nottingham.
He is now working for Al-Hurraya, a multi-functional charity, part funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, which supports Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities with drug addictions and other hidden harms.
Rafik turned to the service, based at Lenton Business Centre, after being in and out of different rehabs and support groups to battle his addiction.
As a Muslim, Rafik felt as though there were many cultural barriers from the services he was using, many being within Christian churches.
It was during this time that he met Asad Fazil, who is the founder of Al-Hurraya.
In 2017, upon meeting Asad, Rafik began his journey to recovery within the service.
He was in the programme for five years and completed their 12-step treatment plan. He has since been clean for three years.
After recovering, Rafik turned his life around and began volunteering at Al-Hurraya to help others who battled with substance misuse.
This led to him getting a job within the service as a Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic and Refugee specialist substance misuse practitioner, where he can mentor service users to get them on the right path.
He said: “Al-Hurraya really helped me change my life.
“The 12-step programme gave me a focus and made me become a lot more self-aware of my character defects.
“When I reached my rock bottom through addiction, Al-Hurraya helped me get into a treatment centre, gave me voluntary work and courses to be able to apply my lived experience and carry out the amazing work I do now.
“At every stage in my recovery journey Asad and Al-Hurraya as an organisation never gave up on me.”
Al-Hurraya sets itself aside from mainstream services by providing bespoke, personalised, culturally specific interventions targeted specifically at Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic, Refugee and other emerging communities.
Asad founded Al-Hurraya in 2014 following his own personal recovery journey.
He felt that mainstream services were not able to support him with his cultural and religious needs which were vital in his personal recovery.
By setting up Al-Hurraya, Asad set out to ensure that other people would not face the same barriers to support that he did.
He said: “Rafik Ahad is a great example of the amazing work we do at Al-Hurraya.
“He is a great success story and example of how the right help and support can help you to live a life free from addiction.”
Al-Hurraya is Arabic word for freedom – freedom from harm, freedom from addiction and freedom from isolation, which perfectly describes Asad’s aim for the organisation.
He added: “I would just like to show appreciation for the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire and thank them on behalf of everyone at Al-Hurraya.
“They have supported us and funded our organisation for the last seven years from the start of our journey.
“This has allowed us to carry out the amazing work that we do and support the people that need it.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire is responsible for commissioning services around the county to support the objectives of her Make Notts Safe plan. These include responding efficiently and effectively to local need, preventing crime and supporting victims and survivors.
Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said: “It is so important that people in Nottinghamshire feel as though there are services that suit their cultural needs, so they are not left without vital support in their time of need.
“Al-Hurraya do this brilliantly, and examples such as Rafik show just what a difference they can make to people’s lives.
“Thank you Rafik for sharing your story with us and thank you to everyone at Al-Hurraya for the incredible support and preventative work you are doing within your community.”
Al-Hurraya is just one of the scores of third sector organisations across the county funded by the Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner to help Make Notts Safe.
Posted on Tuesday 8th November 2022