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

Eesha, our Literacy Volunteer, has shared some reflections on her time volunteering at Women for Refugee Women.

Our Literacy class meets weekly to support women to develop their English skills, build their confidence, and to connect with one another. As Eesha reflects, “I feel lucky!”

Thank you for sharing your reflections Eesha, and for all that you do for Women for Refugee Women! We’re so grateful for your support and dedication.


🌟 It has been 7 months since I started volunteering as an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) Literacy teacher for beginners and intermediate English for Women for Refugee Women. Women for Refugee Women is an amazing charity that supports a network of over 350 refugee and asylum-seeking women who have fled persecution to build their confidence and skills, and develop friendships in a welcoming and supportive space!

🙋‍♀️ Feminism and refugees’ rights are both causes I’m incredibly passionate about; I chanced upon this role of teaching English literacy in October and was initially hesitant on applying as it seemed very out of my comfort zone – I had no experience in teaching or tutoring, definitely not in teaching English as a foreign language! However, after talking to Isabel Young, Head of Grassroots Programmes at the charity, I was reassured and ready to have a go at it. I started out in October, teaching beginners’ literacy to one small class and was asked to extend it to intermediate learners the following month (to my delight).

👩‍🏫 I feel lucky to have the weekly opportunity of independently designing and delivering an extensive and engaging English literacy curriculum to both of these classes of amazing women! I’ve learnt how to use an empathy-centred approach to successfully support refugee women and asylum-seeking women from a wide variety of different backgrounds. I’ve also gained improved communication skills and am much more at ease in terms of working independently!

💡 Moreover, volunteering with this charity has given me a more nuanced perspective on immigration in the UK and the experiences of refugee and asylum-seeking women in general, something I really appreciate as an incoming history and politics student. Their campaigns made me think about a lot of things I’ve never considered before, such as the fact that there is no statutory time limit on immigration detention in the UK (the only country in Europe to lock people up in immigration detention centres without release dates). This means that women are often locked up for weeks and months at a time, not knowing when they will be released, which can be especially traumatic given that the majority of female detainees are survivors of gender-based violence.

❤️ Finally, I want to give a shout-out to the WRW staff and volunteers – the charity is such a welcoming, warm and supportive volunteering environment because of them! In particular, I want to thank Isabel Young, my supervisor, and Dina Aragaw, Grassroots Program Coordinator, at Women for Refugee Women, who have provided me with constant support, whether that be about literacy lessons or giving general advice on things like working in the charity sector!


Check out our other Volunteers Week blogs: an interview with our Drama volunteers; Reflections on English by Henrietta.