AKO ZADA (Chair)
Ako Zada originally joined CIS as a director in 2013. He returned to join us in 2019, after he moved back to Glasgow and we had become a charity. In 2020 he became the chair and is very active in promoting CIS and our work.
As someone from a refugee background, Ako has acute awareness of the system that asylum seekers struggle with and provides various types of support, particularly to new arrivals.
He is from Kurdistan (Iraq) and is a founding member of Zagros, a Kurdish Scottish organisation, set up in 2019.
Abigail is a primary school teacher by profession, and has a Diploma in Business Administration. She currently works as a support worker with adults with learning difficulties and autism.
Abigail has been involved in CIS since 2015 when she became one of the first volunteers with the ASH project, providing support at Drop In, and helping to raise awareness of the rights of asylum seekers in relation to housing and promoting the project to asylum seekers and third sector organisations. Her contribution to the project has been considerable and in 2018 Abigail made a further commitment to the organisation, becoming a Director of CIS.
Abigail also volunteered with the Scottish Refugee Council providing supplementary support to people working with a caseworker. She volunteered with the Home from Hospital Project at British Red Cross, and was a volunteer visitor and driver with Scottish Detainee Visitors for 6 years, a role she chose to take on since supporting and visiting a close relative detained in the UK.
DUNCAN SIM (Vice Chair)
Duncan is a retired academic, having worked in the Social Science Departments at the Universities of Stirling and West of Scotland.
Over the years, he has carried out a range of research studies into the needs and experiences of minority ethnic groups, refugees and asylum seekers. Including a study of asylum seekers in Scotland for the Scottish Government, a study of the needs of Congolese refugees in Motherwell and a number of other studies for local government, charities and other funders.
He has published widely and, while at the University of the West of Scotland, coordinated evening classes in race equality. He has worked with CIS on studies of refugees who have settled in Glasgow, on refugee and asylum seeker homelessness, and the Living Well project. He previously spent nineteen years on the Board of a local housing association which provides housing and support for people with learning disabilities.
Duncan joined the Board of Directors of Community InfoSource in 2019.
Elizabeth was born in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria and is Nigerian-British. She completed her primary and secondary education in Ibadan, Nigeria. Her first degree is in English and Education from Kent University. Elizabeth has a PGCE in English, History and TEFL and a postgraduate CPE (Law).
Elizabeth has worked as a secondary school teacher, in marketing, Public Relations and Business Sponsorship of the Arts (including managing Royal Insurance’s sponsorship of the Royal Shakespeare Company). She was a freelance contributor to the journal ‘West Africa’ on Education and the Arts from 1983 – 1990.
Until August 2019, Elizabeth worked at the House of Commons, first as Parliamentary Assistant and Researcher to Margaret Beckett MP. This was for almost 15 years before she worked as Office Manager for Kate Osamor MP, setting up her constituency office in Edmonton after the 2015 General Election.
Eighty percent of her constituency casework involved assisting constituents with their asylum/ immigration and housing/homelessness issues including liaising closely with local authorities, the Home Office and immigration advisers. The Edmonton constituency office was at the forefront in bringing the recent Windrush scandal to public attention.
Elizabeth is also a Trustee and Secretary to the Board of Trustees of the Britain-Nigeria Educational Trust whose objectives include supporting the training and development of teachers in Nigeria, funding on-going educational projects, supplying furniture, books and kindles to schools and sponsoring visiting university fellows.
Elizabeth joined the CIS Board of Directors in October 2019 and is actively involved in CIS projects.
MAVIS NDLOVU (Treasurer)
Mavis joined CIS's Board in 2021, having lived out of Glasgow for a while and finding us again after her return.
Mavis originally volunteered with CIS on the Living Well in Glasgow research project during 2013 and 2014. She spoke about her experience volunteering as a community researcher at the launch of the findings of the research and received a certificate from us certificate_mavis_ndlovu_2014.pub
Read the research on this page Research
Mavis has direct experience of the UK asylum system and the Hostile Environment, designed to make people give up. She came from Zimbabwe.
Olivia joined CIS's Board in 2020 having been an active volunteer with us since 2013, even through years of being unsupported by the Home Office and homelessness.
She is currently completing a BA Community Development degree at Glasgow University and is originally from Zambia.
Olivia is a community representative and campaigner (activist) against barriers affecting migrants, asylum seekers and refugees (Home Office fees, destitution, employment, Housing, education etc).
Olivia was featured on the BBC News where she was raising awareness of destitution of many asylum seekers, poverty and homelessness among Ethnic minority groups including lack of proper accommodation for mothers with babies while in the asylum process.
She also gave evidence at the Scottish Parliament ‘Hidden Lives’ Equalities Human Rights Committee regarding to the financial, Emotional and physiological impact of the Hostile Environment ‘no recourse to public funds’ on Asylum seekers with insecure immigration status
Olivia gave a speech at the Scottish Parliament on the rights of a child for asylum seekers, and the duties for the local authority to provide support for mother and child, regardless of their immigration status. More information is available on the Scottish Government Website and a video link from youtube. https://youtu.be/b1aGGTyuBC
SAM BISIRIYU (Secretary)
Sam is a Graduate of Business Administration and Education and was a teacher of Business studies and Mathematics in Nigeria. He has10+ years’ experience working as a Health care worker as a support worker, team leader and manager running of Residential Care home/ Autism unit in England.
Sam volunteered with Positive action in Housing for a year providing Money skills Advise for people claiming Universal credit, PIP, Housing related Benefit, Child Benefit and Child Tax Credit and Crisis Grant or any debt, then managing the Money skill Helpdesk as a Caseworker. His contribution to these projects has been excellent and unique.
He completed the Community Achievement Award and Professional Development Award (PDA) in Community Involvement at Glasgow Kelvin college in 2019 and has worked with the Mental Health Foundation Scotland on the impact of Mental health on Asylum seekers and Refugees in Scotland.
Sam is a co-founder of Migrants Organising for Rights and Empowerment (MORE) that is for the right to work, to access higher education, to decent accommodation and the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
He worked with Maryhill Integration Network on Right to work for Asylum Seekers (Lift the Ban) and Scottish Refugee Council to campaign for the Right to Vote for asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland at the Scottish parliament.
Sam joined the Board of Directors of Community InfoSource in 2019.