Ahmed volunteers for JRS 3 days a week supporting our destitution services team to offer hospitality and welcome to refugees and people seeking asylum throughout the week. This article was written before the drop-in Day Centre was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Volunteering at JRS has been the most wonderful experience. During the time I have spent at JRS UK, several new people have joined the JRS team, while some have left. Yet, meeting new faces and people from different backgrounds and cultures is one of the many reasons why I enjoy volunteering here. You are able to expand your knowledge and learn about other people’s worlds, beliefs, practices and much more.
Before I began volunteering at JRS, naturally I was nervous – just as any person would be on their first day joining a new organisation. However, that feeling quickly faded due to JRS’s friendly and welcoming environment. Staff and volunteers helped familiarise me with the work, and before I knew it I started to feel this sense of belonging- as if I had been part of the JRS team for a long time.
Volunteering at JRS has enabled me to gain a whole set of different attributes and skills that will definitely help me in whichever career I choose in the future. From being a receptionist to cooking food, JRS offers volunteers a number of different roles so that you can choose the one that fits you best. In addition, if you are up for a challenge – you can always multi-task! Taking on different roles daily has helped me gain more skills than what I would have if I was just doing one.
Thursdays are the most intriguing day of the week. Over 100 of our refugee friends visit the centre and I get to meet many different people and serve them lunch. Most importantly, it is a chance to interact with our friends and listen to their concerns in order to help them in the any way possible. The gratitude and appreciation that our friends show for simply accompanying them, and being there to help, is the main reason to why the Day Centre is the most delightful day of the week.
For all the reasons mentioned, I keep coming back to JRS UK to help my colleagues and our refugee friends to accomplish JRS’ mission, which is to advocate, serve and accompany. It is a great honour to be a part of the JRS community and to serve in their work.
Inspired by Ahmed’s experience with JRS?
Read more from JRS volunteers for Volunteers’ Week