Nas started working with Mosaic in 2009. Her career in the media had recently brought her to London, where she wanted to contribute to the community. She volunteered to take part in the prisons scheme, which she heard about through a network of London-based Muslim professionals.
Although she had experience of volunteering in the community, she felt that the scheme offered a chance to encounter a community which was “hidden away”, a chance of “…opening that world up to me, a world that I don’t know, a world that might challenge my own preconceptions.”
She first met her mentee once every four to five weeks in the months prior to his release, helping to prepare him for life after his release and just “being a friend”. After his release in 2010 she initially met him once every three weeks and is still in contact with him now. Through meeting her mentee, Nas feels that she has met someone“phenomenal, such an amazing guy”: his drive and motivation to turn his life around“never ceases to amaze me”.
Highlights of the mentoring process include the first time that her mentee got in contact after his release and when he was offered a job during Ramadan, which was“amazing”.
The scheme has opened Nas’ eyes to the negative stereotypes surrounding prisoners and her advice to people considering the scheme is to “just do it” – she guarantees that anyone who starts the scheme will not be able to walk away from it.