Roza Salih's connection with The Herald dates back to when she was 15-years-old, part of a group of young women who protested their friend's deportation. 

This newspaper closely followed the story of the Glasgow Girls, as they successfully campaigned against dawn raids, detainment and deportation of children.  

Now 35, Roza has since been elected as SNP representative for the ward of Greater Pollok in Glasgow, becoming the first former refugee councillor in Scotland

Read more: SNP councillor and Glasgow girl Roza Salih on asylum work rights

And her story has come full circle as she has joined The Herald as a columnist. 

Roza said: "I feel like I have a different perspective, I always speak the truth. I’m always being honest to myself and try to say what I believe in.

The Herald: Roza Salih with Glashow Girls Agnesa Murselaj and Emma and Amal AzzudinRoza Salih with Glashow Girls Agnesa Murselaj and Emma and Amal Azzudin (Image: Contributed)

“I will be writing about different topics that I feel strongly about that we should make change. I have always been a vocal advocate of positive change and how I see things that could benefit society. 

“I have come from a campaigning perspective so want to write about things I think we should be taking in a different direction or doing more."

Originally from Kurdistan, northern Iraq, Roza's family fled their home due to persecution and war. 

Her grandfather and three uncles were killed for opposing Saddam Hussein's regime, and another uncle was imprisoned and tortured for 15 years in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. 

Roza arrived in Scotland as a refugee in 2001, and said her childhood experiences awoke a passion for politics and activism. 

The Herald: Roza Salih being elected as SNP Councillor for the Greater Pollock ward in GlasgowRoza Salih being elected as SNP Councillor for the Greater Pollock ward in Glasgow

"As a minority, being politically passive is a luxury I cannot afford," she wrote in an earlier Herald piece, "I feel it is both a privilege and duty to speak up to defend our hard-won rights". 

Alongside six other young women, Roza highlighted the poor treatment of asylum seekers, following the detention of their friend Agnesa Murselaj and her family in 2005.

After the Glasgow Girls brought national attention to their plight, the family – who were seeking asylum from Kosovo – were eventually allowed back to their home in Glasgow and ultimately permitted to stay. 

Read more: Roza Salih calls for asylum seekers to be given right to work

Their story sparked a musical and two documentaries, and Roza was later involved in the huge protest in 2021 in Kenmure StreetPollokshields, which prevented Home Office officials removing two men thought to be asylum seekers. 

Roza said: “That’s why I became a politician, to change things and say things I want to say. I’m not afraid of speaking up on things I really believe in. People need to speak up and not be afraid."

The Herald: Roza Salih at the 2021 Kenmure Street protest in GlasgowRoza Salih at the 2021 Kenmure Street protest in Glasgow (Image: Newsquest)

She believes it's important women from ethnic minorities are supported and represented in politics and public debate. 

"I have a different perspective and hopefully I can bring that to readers, how life is for someone who wasn’t born in this country but wants to make a difference."

Roza will be writing about issues she is passionate about, including local politics, public transport, immigration and more. 

Read Roza Salih's first column tomorrow