A Wirral student has been recognised for her 'exceptional' contribution to humanitarian causes during a special reception at Buckingham Palace.
Maha Khalifa was among those guests, including frontline workers, fundraisers and those impacted by crises recognised for their work at the event which was hosted by the King and Queen and commemorated the UK's commitment to humanitarianism.
Maha, who is currently enrolled in English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Level 1 Functional Skills at Wirral Met College, earned her invitation in acknowledgment of her exemplary voluntary work supporting asylum seekers and refugees across Merseyside.
Maha's journey into volunteering began in 2019 when she arrived in the UK as an asylum seeker, receiving crucial assistance from charitable organisations such as Refugee Women Connect and Refugee Action.
Inspired to give back to those who helped her, Maha passionately dedicates her free time to supporting fellow asylum seekers.
In her role as an 'Expert by Experience' with Refugee Action, she not only provides direct assistance but also provides training to new volunteers.
Maha attended the Buckingham Palace reception alongside other volunteers from the organisation, and had the opportunity to connect with other guests representing humanitarian initiatives from across the world.
During her experience at the palace, Maha met the Queen and the King and shared her personal journey as an asylum seeker.
It was a chance to shed light on the challenges faced by her home country, Sudan, particularly the plight of innocent people forced to flee due to ongoing violence.
Maha said: "I am so honoured to advocate for asylum seekers and the people of my country. I hope my story will inspire others to give their time and support to those who arrive in this country with nothing, helping them rebuild their lives."
As a single mother of three, Maha balances college work and volunteering, making her recognition "even more meaningful".
She believes her story can serve as inspiration for others to contribute to humanitarian causes.
Enrolling in Wirral Met College in December as an ESOL student, Maha commended the course for significantly improving her English language skills, enabling her to write formal emails and confidently engage with MPs to try and enact change for asylum seekers across the U.K.
In February this year, Wirral Met became the first college in the region to gain College of Sanctuary status.
The College of Sanctuary status acknowledges colleges that have gone above and beyond to support refugees and asylum seekers and help raise awareness about migration and why people seek safety among students, staff, and the local community.