Originally from Cameroon, Pride volunteers at ASSIST Sheffield, Heeley Development Trust, City of Sanctuary
I volunteer with the Heeley Development Trust where I teach computing and I also volunteer for ASSIST and the City of Sanctuary where we go around schools doing public presentations on asylum seeking and the whole process.
I’ve been in Sheffield for six months but in the UK for five years. Before I lived in Portsmouth and I was a student at the university studying Computer Engineering, and before I left my country I had a diploma in computer hardware and software.
I came to Sheffield as a result of claiming asylum and rather then sitting at home and getting depressed I started volunteering because without volunteering there is little I can do. I didn’t know anyone before I came but I’ve met lots of people through voluntary work.
I started volunteering a few weeks after I came here at the end of October. Volunteering has helped me because as an asylum seeker, if you don’t get involved you get drowned in your own despair and it can be hard going out and talking to people. By volunteering you meet people who want to get to know you and you have someone who can listen to you. When I started volunteering I made a lot of friends.
Volunteering has changed my attitude to Sheffield. Had there been no volunteering I don’t know what would have happened to me. Volunteering takes me away from my own despair and I get to meet people and to listen to their own stories of life, they might not be as severe as mine but you get the feeling that you’re not alone. You get to see other refugees who were asylum seekers before which this gives you hope for the future.
Being able to teach has been important to me because it shows people that asylum seekers are not useless and that they are not here just because of benefits. It has made me realise that people do not see you as useless because you are an asylum seeker but that in fact people see that you have a lot of value. I think it will help me towards employment at some point and even if I don’t work in the computing field it has given me experience not just for my CV. This is because one of the most important things at work is your relationship between your colleges and you get this experience when you volunteer.
When I volunteer I am happy because I know I have made another person happy. You get to know that there are many people that care about you when you volunteer, you make new friends, and I can say they are like family at times for you. If I were not volunteering I wouldn’t know all of these people who are helping me at times of my own crisis.
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