Our people

Our team is made up of approximately fifty members of staff along with more than 50 volunteers and ambassadors, who give their valuable time to help us in our work, from advising new refugees, providing advice to helping us raise funds.
We are led by a board of directors, our Chief Executive Sabir Zazai and senior management team.

Sabir Zazai, Chief Executive

The chief executive works closely with the board and senior management team. His key roles are to manage and oversee the work of the organisation and ensure delivery of the strategic plan aims, represent the organisation externally with key stakeholders, funders and the media, and to support the work of the board to enable them to carry out their responsibilities.

Sabir Zazai was appointed as Chief Executive of Scottish Refugee Council in September 2017.

Sabir arrived in the UK as an asylum seeker in 1999, fleeing the conflict in Afghanistan. He was dispersed to Coventry, where he lived and got involved in local community initiatives.

From 2014, Sabir led the Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, a charity that once assisted Sabir through his own journey as a refugee. Prior to this, he managed the Migration Impact Fund in Coventry and led a major improving financial capability programme with Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau.

Sabir has a wealth of knowledge in refugee integration that is informed by his personal experiences of going through the asylum system and his research and campaigning background in this area. His policy and research work in refugee integration focuses on community cohesion management, integration and social relations. Sabir was recently conferred with an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Glasgow for services to community and he has received the Lord Provost’s Award for human rights.

Sabir is passionate about refugee rights, social justice, human rights and intercultural relations.

Gary Christie, Head of Policy, Communications & Communities

Gary Christie joined Scottish Refugee Council in 2003. As Head of Policy, Communications & Communities he is responsible for the overall management and delivery of the charity’s policy, research and communications functions to ensure we have the evidence and tools to inform public policy and practice debates on refugee and asylum issues at local, Scottish, UK and EU levels. Gary also has responsibility for Scottish Refugee Council’s arts development work and our community development work that aims to ensure refugees and refugee communities in Scotland participate and influence decisions affecting them. He manages the Scottish Guardianship Service, an award-winning service which supports unaccompanied asylum-seeking and trafficked children and young people in Scotland run in partnership with Aberlour Child Care Trust.

He has an MSc in Human Rights and Citizenship. He sits on the New Scots Steering Group and chairs its Thematic Group on Communities & Social Connections. He previously worked as a language teacher and Director of Studies in language centres in France, Russia and Denmark.

Wafa Shaheen, Head of Asylum, Integration and Resettlement

Wafa joined Scottish Refugee Council in 2000. She has worked on immigration and asylum issues, programmes and projects providing information, advice, advocacy and support to refugees at different stages of the asylum and integration process.
Her role as Head of Services involves development, management and delivery of Scottish Refugee Council’s direct services ensuring that they are of good quality and support refugees to exercise their rights and rebuild their lives in Scotland.

Flutura Shala, Head of Funding Development

Flutura joined Scottish Refugee Council in 1999. She has worked with various refugee organisations, programmes and projects providing information, advice and support to refugees at different stages of their asylum and integration process.

Her role as Head of Funding Development involves developing and implementing a strategy to increase the amount and diversity of our income generation, and increase the levels of unrestricted income sources.

Sheila Traynor, Head of Finance and Corporate Services

Sheila joined Scottish Refugee Council in 2019. She is a Chartered Accountant with over 20 years experience in financial management in a variety of sectors. Sheila has more recently worked within the public and third sector in charities and housing associations. She is the independent annual accounts examiner for a small North Glasgow charity which provides services to local residents, asylum seekers, and refugees.

Her role as Head of Finance and Corporate Services at Scottish Refugee Council is responsible for the management and delivery of the finance and corporate services functions. This includes HR and ensuring the organisation meets internal and external standards.