30 Under 30: Roza Salih

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Roza Salih speaks to a rally with a megaphone

We’re gradually beginning to accept the fact that no one is going write a musical about us. Or a television programme. It’s sad, but there it is. So instead we will just have to marvel at the sheer awesomeness of inspiring women whose stories have graced stages and television/laptop screens.

And TBH, when it comes to someone like Roza Salih, we’re already in total awe of her greatness. The whole musical/BBC programme thing just sealed the deal.

Like fellow 30 Under 30 star Amal Azzudin, Roza was one of the famed (with good reason!) Glasgow Girls. And like Amal, Roza’s activism has only grown over time. In a Third Force News article, Roza has said that her passion comes directly from her experiences.

‘I think my activism comes from my family and being in the situation of an asylum seeker. I felt angry that we were treated as second class citizens.’

Roza Salih taking a selfie with friendsWhen you and your friends at school have successfully launched a movement – a ‘community’, Roza calls it – of asylum seekers, former refugees, and Scottish-born residents to stop the UKBA from detaining children in prison-esque detention centres, where do you go from there? How do you top that?

Roza’s answer (we imagine): just keep on being a boss.

She was 19 when her family was officially granted asylum (after two rejections and 8 years). She went to University. In 2013 she graduated with honours in law and politics from University of Strathclyde, where she was also the Vice-President of Diversity and Advocacy for the Student’s Association.

Roza Salih wearing Kurdish dress standing in front of a 'Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan' bannerShe was elected to the National Union of Students’ International Students Committee and the NUS UK Student trustee board. She is co-founder of Scottish Solidarity with Kurdistan, and recently returned from a trip to Kurdish regions in Turkey as part of a delegation of trade unionists and human rights activists.

She also worked with the Scottish Refugee Council and the Education Strategy Commission to establish funding from Strathclyde University for scholarships specifically for asylum seekers. In The Migrant Voice, she wrote that making the UK a better place for asylum seekers is what gets her out of bed in the morning.

‘Education is very important. It’s a vehicle for progress for the individual and for society.  Nelson Mandela was right to say that “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”’

That fire will definitely serve her well in her new job: earlier this year Roza started work as a constituency assistant for Glasgow South West MP Chris Stephens.

Roza Salih stands with MP Glasgow South East Chris Stephens

As always, we stand in complete awe of your boss-ness, Roza!

You can keep up with Roza by following her on Twitter at @RozaSalih or on Facebook!

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