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I want people to put health first..not religion; PARAMEDIC ARAF GETS NOD FOR GREAT SCOT AWARD; Hero 999 worker devotes his time to help Asian community.

Byline: Heather Greenaway

From helping Syrian refugees settle in Scotland to teaching first aid in mosques, Araf Saddiq has dedicated his life to giving medical support to the Asian community.

The 52-year-old became the nation's first Asian paramedic in 1996 and ever since he has been helping break down the barriers between ethnic minorities and the health service.

When he is not out saving lives with the Scottish Ambulance Service, Araf can be found giving CPR and defibrillator workshops in mosques and Sikh and Hindu It's than a temples.

Araf 's dedication to improving lives, changing attitudes and challenging stereotypes has earned him a Great Scot Community Champion nomination.

The more people can the better He said: "I love what I do. To me, it is more than a job - it is a vocation. The more people I can help or reach out to, the better.

"Training people in basic first aid and CPR is vital, especially in ethnic minority communities where cultural differences have led to a lack of understanding.

"My colleagues and I run CPR workshops and health sessions in mosques and Sikh and Hindu temples and I'm on a mission to get as many defibrillators as I can installed in these centres. Mature Asian men are at higher risk of cardiac disease."

He added: "In some cultures, being a female being treated by a male paramedic and vice versa can be a major issue.

"I've been trying to teach folk they have to put their health first, not their religion."

Araf, who is married to special needs teacher Aysha, 42, has also been making an impact on the refugee community.

He said: "When the Syrian refugees came to Scotland, they had never heard of the NHS or calling for an ambulance.

"I've developed a form where they fill in personal and medical details, which allows paramedics to start immediate treatment, where before there could be delays due to language difficulties."

Araf, who is dad to Amaan, 17, Eleena, 14 and Inayah, five, has also been involved with the Scottish Communities Initiative and the Army in setting up an anti-radicalisation programme

Araf is also doing his bit to encourage other Muslims to follow him into the profession.

I help, He said: "I became a paramedic after they saved my mother's life. In my culture, you are encouraged to become doctors, lawyers or engineers. Paramedics aren't even on the radar. I'm working hard to change this."

Jill McArthur, of Specsavers, who sponsor the Community Champion Award, said: "We're proud to be supporting this year's Sunday Mail and Steven Brown Art Great Scot Awards."

NOMINATIONS To nominate, go www.greatscotawards.co.uk. Nominations close on Wednesday, August 29, 2018.

#GreatScotAwards NOMINATIONS & CATEGORIES UNSUNG HERO AWARD Do you know a Scot who goes the extra mile every day but never asks for any recognition or reward? Please tell us about the person who makes your home or community special. Five nominees will receive an Unsung Hero Award and one will be named our overall Great Scot of 2018.

COMMUNITY CHAMPION AWARD Sponsored by Specsavers This award celebrates an individual or group who works tirelessly to improve the lives of people in their local community.

ENTERTAINMENT AWARD When it comes to entertaining, Scotland is world class. From music and comedy to writing and performing, we lead the way. Let us know who you think deserves to follow in the footsteps of Biffy Clyro, Brian Cox, Kevin Bridges and Gerry Cinnamon.

SPORT AWARD Do you know someone who, through their hard efforts and determination, has achieved extraordinary sporting achievements? Or perhaps someone who spends their free time training others in a sport they love? Tell us who you think deserves recognition for their dedication to sport.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD Sponsored by Steven Brown Art This award goes to someone who has made a contribution of outstanding significance in their field over a number of years. Past winners include Alex Ferguson, Jackie Stewart, The Krankies and James Cosmo.

FOR TICKETS To purchase tickets to the event on October 27 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Glasgow Central, contact Aileen Turnbull on 0141 309 4909 or email aileen. turnbull@reachplc.com go to greatscotawards.

NOMINATIONS To nominate, go to www.greatscotawards.co.uk. Nominations will close on Wednesday, August 29, 2018. #GreatScotAwards

It's more than a job - it's a vocation. The more people I can help, the better

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ON A MISSION Ambulance crew member Araf Pic Jamie Williamson
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 26, 2018
Words:745
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