I started working as a volunteer at the Coventry Refugee and Asylum Centre because I had been unemployed for some time, and it seemed to me a good way of getting back into the habit of working and getting my life back into some sort of order. I hoped that by being a volunteer I would enhance my prospects of getting a job and subsequently improve my own life. Whilst I achieved these things, I also gained from the CRMC a great increase in my knowledge and understanding of not only of the part of the world I live in, but also that of the world beyond – of countries, people, languages and cultures into which I had little insight.
I found myself at once both appalled at the suffering of those who came to the Centre for help and humbled by the compassion, humanity and professionalism of my colleagues.
My time as a volunteer at the CRMC has enriched my life by giving me confidence, self respect and a sense of pride
I met clients from around the world who had come to the UK in search of refuge after experiencing the most horrific deprivations, injustices and abuses – including torture, dispossession and war – and yet bore their physical and psychological wounds with fortitude and dignity. I learned that for many of my fellow human beings the world was a dark, dangerous and frightening place, and I learned to appreciate that I live in a land where peace, justice and the rule of law are acknowledged to be the inalienable right of all. And I was fortunate to meet and form lasting friendships with many people who demonstrated a real desire to make the world a better, safer and more equitable place for all of us.
While at the CRMC, I received a great deal of high quality training and experience – which are both recognised and respected by many employers and others outside the Centre – and I have no doubt the time I spent there has been instrumental in helping me to find employment – which was my initial goal.
My time as a volunteer at the CRMC has enriched my life by giving me confidence, self respect and a sense of pride, and thereby immeasurably enhanced my relationships with people outside the Centre.