Posted: 22 February 2016

Volunteering to facilitate the change that migrants need

This Student Volunteering Week we have been talking to some of our student volunteers to find out how they support the children and young people we work with. Qabil is a Medical Sciences student who has been volunteering with The Children’s Society in Newcastle. 

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1.       Where do you study and what course are you doing?

I am currently a postgraduate student at Newcastle University and I read MSc in Medical Sciences.

2.      Why did you get involved as a volunteer with us?

Almost frequently in the news, I would encounter stories of children disappearing; either them running away from home, or being victims of child sexual exploitation. Looking at how parents plead for their children to come back made me feel very sad for them because although some of the children did fortunately come back safely to their parents, many unfortunately did not. I hope to gain some understanding and to learn from these children and at the same time to empathise with them and to give them my utmost support.   

As for the SMART project, I want to be the drive and to facilitate the change that migrants, asylum-seeking families and children, and refugees are hoping for, which is to live a better life. I hope to exchange many conversations with them and to support them in any way I can.

3.      What is your volunteer role with us? What is a typical day?

I am a volunteer mentor and my role basically involves assisting project workers. I volunteer on a weekly basis at the Brunswick Methodist Church in the Newcastle City Centre where the SCARPA team is located and also where the SMART team organises a drop-in session, where migrants, asylum-seeking families and refugees come seeking for advice or help with their applications etc.

A typical day involves helping out in the kitchen by preparing light breakfast and making food bags in the morning for the people we support. In addition to that, I was also given an opportunity to shadow a project worker during the drop-in session where I got to experience at first-hand how consulting and communicating with people from different backgrounds can be very challenging. The team regularly organises a party for children as well and for me, that is the most enjoyable part.

4.      What has been your favourite experience when volunteering for us? Why?

My favourite experience would be during the Christmas party. Apart from seeing a clown performing in front of me for the first time, I really enjoyed seeing how much fun the children and parents had on that day. It feels very rewarding to see such joyful faces amidst these troubling times in the world. Project workers and volunteers had their share of fun as well!

5.      How has volunteering with us helped you with your studies?  Have you gained new skills?

I came from Malaysia as an international student therefore communication is one of the most valuable skills I have honed throughout my time volunteering with The Children’s Society. In addition to that, I have also acquired new problem-solving skills while shadowing a project worker during the drop-in session which deals mostly with applying for tax credits, home and child benefits and National Insurance number etc.

6.      What would you say to other students who are interested in volunteering with us?

Have a genuine intention to want to help people and you will find everything that you do - no matter how small – will be appreciated and it also feels very rewarding to see people smiling because of what you did to serve them.

7.      What would be your three top tips to new student volunteers to make the most out of their experience?

1)  Be genuinely happy to help out, if you don’t, try to think like this, ‘What if I was in that person’s shoes?’

2)  Make strong efforts to be committed in what you’re doing because you’ll only live once in this world.

3)  The people at The Children’s Society are among the kindest people in the world, so ask questions about anything or let them know any ideas that you have, and they will, without a doubt, help you out.

 

Read more about the work our volunteers do on our volunteer blog

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Volunteer with us

Find out more about volunteering opportunities with us.
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Posted: 1 January 1970

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Posted: 1 January 1970