Maya Rajab – Born in Syria, raised in England, made by NCS

Maya has had a unique start to her life. Born in Syria, Maya has had to overcome adversity from a young age but believes her time on NCS has given her new confidence. Now, at only 17 years of age, Maya will be standing in front of 100 people at the EFL Trust National Conference, at St George’s Park next week.

Convinced by her sister, an NCS Graduate, Maya started her journey on NCS in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic by signing up to do the ‘Keep Doing Good programme’ with Huddersfield Giants Community Trust.

Maya got stuck in from the get-go as her team decided to support the elderly and boosting the camaraderie within the care homes, during those dark, unpredictable times. Maya and her team put on a wide variety of activities for residents, such as performing songs online playing instruments, as well as organising the occasional game of bingo and a music quiz, presenting them through Zoom.

Reflecting back, Maya said:

“During this time there were several COVID restrictions that fuelled feelings of loneliness. Our task was just to let them know they weren’t alone, and to spend time with them.”

Maya enjoyed her time on ‘Keep Doing Good’ so much, that she couldn’t wait to get involved in NCS a year later in the summer just gone. This time, her team set on supporting the other end of the age range, renovating the garden of the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.

Maya spoke fondly about her experiences at the Children’s Hospice:

“Seeing the smiles on the children’s faces when they saw their new and improved garden made me feel as though I had really made a positive impact and to be able to share this experience with my friends was just as special.”

After an incredibly successful time at Huddersfield Giants Community Trust, Maya was nominated to join the EFL Trust’s Changemaker Group.

“I have improved many of my personal skills such as my confidence when putting forward my ideas and my public speaking, where I presented a workshop to other NCS graduates with the help of my fellow board members.”

Maya states that the reasoning behind her increased confidence, has been due to her time on NCS, which has helped her control her nerves and build her speaking skills, in preparation for the EFL Trust National Conference. Feeling more relaxed about the idea of public speaking, Maya is looking forward to displaying her increased confidence at St George’s Park.

“The NCS has helped me overcome my nerves, so now whenever I get the chance to speak in front of a crowd, I’ll grab it with both hands.”

Being involved in the EFL Trust’s Changemaker Group has expanded her knowledge, widening her expertise on topics related to Parliament, volunteering opportunities and awareness of local issues such as the environment. Maya is now utilising her expertise as a Changemaker to make a difference in the community and improve young people’s lives the same way Maya has also improved.

Maya reflects on her incredible experiences at NCS:

“My time on NCS has done multiple things for me. It has widened my knowledge on topics such as the electoral register through Youth Voice events with UK Parliament. It has also allowed me to showcase skills such as communication, flexibility, resilience, and teamwork as well as improving them. I have also received a great amount of support from NCS, signposting me to other opportunities, I’m incredibly grateful for all they’ve done.”

Maya is overjoyed with hosting at the upcoming EFL Trust National Conference and plans to make the most of the opportunity. Equipped with new skills and newfound confidence, the world is now her oyster. Maya will be looking to improve other young people’s lives for the foreseeable future, as the mentee has become the mentor.