Case study

Paul and Othman

Paul, 27, artist


I became a mentor because it was a flexible way to make a difference to society but also to an individual.


Othman was so enthusiastic and energetic when I first met him, he made a very big impression. He immediately appealed to me as he was playing a musical instrument. I hadn’t met anyone who was a refugee before and I had a certain nervousness at our first meeting.


It would have been unlikely we would have met outside of Time Together but together we have developed a very special friendship. Othman has become more confident about his dance group and his professional ambitions, which has made him happier. Balancing earning a living with realising the potential of his group is getting closer.


Meeting Othman has given me the opportunity to learn about the Sudanese culture and a little bit about Islam. Sudanese people seem very easygoing and hospitable. Being Othman’s mentor has being an inspiring, humbling and unique experience which has made me stronger as a person. It is very liberating to just do something for the sake of it and not for any material gain.


Othman, 37, musician


I was forced to leave my home country because I didn’t agree with the political regime. Back in Sudan, I was one of the country’s top musicians but since coming to the UK, I have worked late night in a garage, as a cleaner and as a security guard in order to pay the bills and support my family. I am very proud to pay my way by doing this work, but I dream of making a living through my music again. I joined Time Together to help me to achieve this dream.


I first met Paul at the Time Together mentor matching event. Paul had what I call the ‘attitude of the artist’ and we were both mutually appealing to each other.


Paul has always been so patient with me and has shown me the professional way to do things as an artist in this country. From the very beginning he started to make things happen for me and my Sudanese dance group. He has advised us on setting up a proper constitution and helped us to open a bank account, so we have been able to apply for funding. He’s very committed to doing anything he says he will and he is always honest with me.