To celebrate Volunteers Week 2024, we’re shining a spotlight on our brilliant and dedicated volunteers throughout the week.

Today we are celebrating Adele, Arati, Cyan, Hana and Nada – our wonderful Drama volunteers!

Our weekly Drama programme, held at the Southbank Centre in London, wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers! From the first small beginners’ sessions in 2016, to the packed and lively series of classes across all levels of experiences we now run, our volunteers bring their wealth of experience, joy and humour to each session.

The below interviews were conducted by members of our Drama group who asked thoughtful and fun questions to Adele, Arati, Cyan, Hana and Nada about what it is like to volunteer with Women for Refugee Women.


What motivates you to volunteer with us?

I love the social element – it’s fun, lively and there’s so many different women meeting each week. I came as part of my MA placement [at Goldsmiths] but here I am two years later! I wanted to show empathy with those far from their home country – I’m far from home too, but in very different circumstances.

You have such a good heart and you are so lovely with us – are you like that all the time?

That depends who you ask! Yes, in my professional life with colleagues and fellow students. But my partner might disagree!

What do you get from volunteering?

I’ve always tended to overthink things in my life, so spending time with you all helps me relax and see how I can deal with relatively simple problems in my life, when I see how resilient and positive you all are. I love learning facilitation techniques, games and the creative tools you all use to develop your performances and writing: seeing these beautiful creations emerge. I learn so much about your experiences in the UK, what’s really going on.

We relax too much sometimes and leave a mess with our coffee cups – does this annoy you?

Not at all! In fact we usually have to insist that you leave the ‘housekeeping’ to us and focus on enjoying the drama workshops! You are all very considerate and tidy compared to working in youth theatre… it’s part of the work of supporting the group, we’re happy to make the room nice.

What makes you happy about being with us?

I love seeing the creative things you make – performance poems, short scenes, funny or sad speeches, the costumes. And joining in with your amazing singing! It’s lots of fun. I think we’re all making each other happy when there’s so much horrible stuff going on in the world. I love the unusual and unexpected friendships and connections, feeling close and belonging to so many different women from all over the world, of different ages and backgrounds.

Have you ever laughed at the silly things we do?

Oh my goodness, yes all the time – so much laughing! The sense of humour is so important, we are all able to relax.

Is this the first time you have done this sort of work?

For two of us, yes, we’re studying to work in this way. One of us is experienced as a Drama teacher/facilitator, one of us is an ESOL teacher, and one of us is a professional writer and theatre director.

What are the top 3 skills for working with us?

Active listening, respect, being trustworthy.

Good communication skills and openness.

Humour and calmness, flexibility, but also keeping a structure and ethos in the sessions.

What keeps you cheerful?

You lot!


Being in the group and seeing everyone joining in and creating things, and having fun, or sharing stories that feel really helpful for our wellbeing.

Do you feel at home here with us?

Yes. I was nervous on the first day because I didn’t know if I would settle in. But I did, and you are all so welcoming.

Is your volunteer role stressful? How do you feel at the end of the day?

The sessions are well-planned so it’s not hard work in that sense. It does get busy though with the two long workshops back-to-back and so many women attending!

Sometimes the emotions are complicated when we have been sharing sad or painful stories, hearing all the lived experiences of forced migration and the UK hostile environment, but there is so much trust and support in the group. And we can use the creative skills to try and make sense of it and support each other.

And speak out publicly!

What have you learned from us?

So much!

You teach us about many things that many people don’t ever see – the injustices of the immigration system.

Also, witnessing all the amazing approaches to finding yourself in a new situation, in a country and life you didn’t choose.

Your talents, skills, amazing qualities, and working so hard to make a safe future.


Members of our Drama group (centre – pink jumper; centre black jumper) with our brilliant volunteers!

Read our other Volunteers Week blogs: Henrietta’s reflections on ESOL, and Eesha’s reflections on volunteering.