Wanted: An Afghan translator who can help Butetown charity support refugees in the city

The Mentor Ring helps to bridge gaps between different ethnic communities in Cardiff

A BUTETOWN charity is looking for an Afghan translator to keep up with the demand from the number of refugees in Cardiff.

The Mentor Ring is searching for a Pashto translator to help Afghans who have fled their home nation due to the Taliban regime.

Translators are already available for other languages, including Arabic. But the charity needs help with Pashto – one of the two official languages of Afghanistan.

The group, based in Butetown Pavilion, was set up as a charity in 2012 by former chemistry teacher Sujatha Thaladi who wanted to support marginalised communities in Cardiff.

She founded the charity to “make ends meet” after moving to Wales from Hyderabad, South India, as a single mother without a PGCE qualification.

Frustrated with the lack of support given to immigrants, she wished she had someone to guide her on life in the UK.

“With two little kids and no husband, it was really hard to settle here,” she said.  

“With The Mentor Ring, I’m able to give back the skills I have gained over the years to the local community.”

The charity has a small staff team who work hard for the community. Project coordinator Maxine Joseph, 51, comes from Bristol and started working at The Mentor Ring in August 2022.

“We mentor people on a case-by-case,” she said. “Sometimes it’s helping people get jobs, other times we help them settle into the UK.

“Right now, I’m helping an Indian care worker gain more confidence with her basic spoken English.”

The Mentor Ring holds many events, such as weekly coffee mornings and healthy eating sessions.

Pensioner Harriet, who asked not to give her surname, attends some of the coffee mornings.

Harriet playing a game with Yamuna and Chris. Photo credit: Zeenia Naqvee

She said: “The support is unrivalled since my brother got ill. I don’t get to open up like this with anyone else. Chris, who’s on the admin team, is great… we play games together.”

Chris Potter, 47, found himself joining The Mentor Ring’s administration team after his film extra roles dried up during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Mentor Ring aims to bridge gaps between different ethnic communities in Cardiff. They often work with the Somali centre nearby, hosting English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) classes weekly.

“Butetown is one of Cardiff’s most diverse areas so it’s important to us that our events reflect the community,” said Chris.

On January 21, they held an event to celebrate the South Indian harvest festival, Pongal.

“We try to learn more about specific cultures at these events,” said Sujatha.

  • Coffee mornings are held every Tuesday from 10.30am to 11.30am at The Mentor Ring, Butetown Pavilion.
  • Healthy eating sessions start at 1.30pm and finish at 3.30pm every Thursday.
  • Timings for the ESOL classes can be found here.
    You can volunteer or get in touch with the charity at this link: The Mentor Ring