by Sandra, volunteer for Women for Refugee Women

My experience of volunteering with WRW is many-layered and the organisation inspires me on many levels.

When I first started to call the women in the group I was allocated at the beginning of the second lockdown, I thought it would simply involve a friendly ear every couple of weeks.  As the months pass by and my involvement with the lives of individual women in a range of situations, some distressed, some in pain, some resigned and others just getting on with life, this meant much more to me and to them, I think.

Often, I can offer support through WRW, referrals or just talk through thorny issues as one human to another. Sometimes I can feel helpless or even guilty, and this is one area in which WRW are so impressive – not only are they committed to giving the women from refugee backgrounds a voice, they also listen to the volunteers’ anxieties and concerns.  Not only through regular team meetings and one-to-one calls with our Co-ordinator, but also by offering us sessions with a professional psychologist and zoom space just for the volunteers.

WRW also listens to our suggestions and has supported me in setting up a Radical Knitting session for those women who want to learn.  The experience of seeing the pride of six women who can now knit is joyous! The sessions are chaotic and full of laughter.

Finally, through the other volunteers and my own reflections on my experience, I am continuing on a journey of my own self-development, signing up for a module in working with people from refugee backgrounds and workshops on shame resilience and transformation skills. The continuing evolution of WRW, its self-awareness and willingness to listen and respond is laudable.

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.