by Liane, volunteer for Women for Refugee Women

One day, a few years ago, I decided I wanted to do some volunteer work that complimented the nature of the participatory photography projects that I run. My projects are about empowerment, self-representation, creativity and working together towards a shared outcome.

Women for Refugee Women is the embodiment of this way of working.

They use creativity to empower and give voice to the extraordinary women in their network.

Together, they work towards and accomplish real change in a hostile political system.

Yes please, I want to be part of that!

So I have had the privilege of volunteering with them since 2019.

Pre-pandemic, I helped with their Monday drop-in centre, where over 200 women would attend classes and various other activities throughout the day.

It was a joyful experience, full of love, chaos, positive energy and connection. And an abundance of humour.

I loved it.

Once Covid hit, the remarkable staff at WRW had to adapt quickly, and the role of the volunteers changed dramatically.

We were each given a list of women to make supportive weekly calls to in order to stay connected.

Two amazing things then happened.

Firstly, the volunteers (alongside the stupendous grassroots coordinator, Viki) became a team. Together we tapped into the whole world of charities, such as food and baby banks, sharing information in order to help accommodate the needs of the women we were calling. It has been a real team effort, and I have felt completely supported by this exceptional group of women volunteers.

Secondly, it has been a profound experience making strong and meaningful connections with many of the women from the network that I’ve been speaking so frequently with over the past year. I feel honoured that many have shared their difficult stories with me. I have also felt uplifted by their personal breakthroughs and successes. There is a real sense of mutual respect alongside sharing a good laugh, a few tears, and a lot of hope.

I could not have asked for a better volunteer experience.


This week is Volunteers’ Week! At Women for Refugee Women we are so grateful to our talented volunteers who share their time and skills with us each week, helping us to welcome and support our London network of over 350 refugee and asylum-seeking women. Each day this week we will be sharing one of our wonderful volunteer’s reflections, read the rest of this series here.