When I first started at Saheli, I knew that the name translated in English meant friendship. This was a good sign as to what was to come. During my time working at Saheli, I have had the opportunity to meet all different types of people, from different cultures, ages and races. All of these having made an impact on me in one way or another.

I knew Naseem from her visits to the gym at the Birmingham Sports Centre. She saw me and asked Shebina, who I knew from a prior gym, to see if I would work for the new all female gym. This was the start of my journey.

I started Saheli in 2006 and still could remember the opening of the new centre. It was a Saturday, and I couldn’t wait to get there. There were hundreds of people and members of the committee were all dressed in blue. Then the speakers came, and I was impressed by all of their speeches and the diversity of the speakers. There were drummers and photos, and almost I felt out of place in my scruffy work clothes!

When I started to work, it was a breath of fresh air. I was managing staff and opened and closed the gym, giving me increased freedom. The clients in my classes were so varied which was valuable in helping me develop my teaching training. I worked with lots of Asian women who had never used a gym before for months to help build their skills. I also encouraged young girls to become fit in after school sessions, building confidence and giving them motivation. I gained independence – I value my time there so much.

Although I teach, I have always had injuries. Saheli has always been accommodating of them. My time at Saheli taught me I was capable of managing my own sessions, as I have achieved so much. I have been completing courses to further my teaching skills, such as aerobic qualifications, running courses and power plate courses. Im hoping to continue my journey, by expanding my skills to include things such as mental health training and computer training. I am so glad to be part of the Saheli team and am looking forward to my future at the Hub.

Norma joined Saheli Hub in 2006.