We are truly sorry to report the passing away of one of our staff members, Nawaf Bayoumi.
Nawaf was an inspirational person, and we would like to take a moment to celebrate his amazing life as well as the contribution he made to our work here through his commitment to speaking up on behalf of people with disabilities.
In his eight years at the Advocacy Project as an ‘expert by experience’, Nawaf worked tirelessly to achieve positive change. Just some of the many things he managed to pack into his schedule included interviewing health and social care staff to make sure that only the people with the right attitudes ended up working in the care sector.
He also trained the next generation of speech and language therapists in City University and psychologists at the University of East London. Many of these had never even considered working with people with learning disabilities before, highlighting the vital impact of services user teaching for students. One student summed it up best at the end of a teaching session, saying ‘I have learnt more in the last 2 hours than I have in the last 2 years of theory’.
His work quality checking information also was valuable to make sure people with learning disabilities could access services and make informed choices. All this work he did amplified his value as a member of staff challenging misconceptions about working people with learning difficulties – Nawaf was really someone to take pride in.
Alongside his work, he will be remembered for his consistently warm personality. One thing that was undeniable about Nawaf was his work ethic; he really enjoyed his job and never once turned down an opportunity to work.
Another was his incredible positivity. Nawaf always looked on the bright side of life and took adversity in his stride, even when stuck on the second floor of the University of East London for hours. And many of us will remember his contagious laugh and wicked sense of humour, finding a reason to giggle about everything.
The topic of his presentations to students was ‘Out and about with Nawaf’, and this accurately reflected how he lived his life on the go and held important the little things in life. Be it going out to eat some spicy food, heading to an art session (a budding artist, Nawaf submitted work for our Christmas card campaign two years ago), or out with his social club until the early hours of the morning and still making it into work the next day. Nawaf was full of life, and he made the most of every moment.
Nawaf has left a hole in the lives of those he touched, but he has made a difference to so many people and impacted so many different lives. His spirit lives on and so does his legacy so thank you, Nawaf, for everything you have done.