Originally from Iran, Someyeh has volunteered for the British Heart foundation, as a Voluntary adviser and interpreter in Northern Refugee Centre, with Citizen Advice and for ASSIST (interpreter)
We came in 2011, we came to London, and then to the Wakefield hostel then we had accommodation in Newcastle. We were there maybe three months and after that we moved to Sheffield because we received a positive answer. I was very active in my country and I need to be active as well here and so I was sent a letter about voluntary jobs here and I found a voluntary adviser and interpreter at the Northern Refugee Centre with asylum and refugees.
In the first month that I was here I was in British Heart Foundation, it was very nice, I was happy over there because people were very friendly and it just helped me, it was good.
There are a very good group of people at the Northern Refugee Centre, they teach me and I learn from them, if I have a problem they call me and ask me something.
For example we had a gathering for Northern Refugee Centre for new year and it was very nice, all of our volunteers and staff from Northern Refugee Centre were over there. We had a very good connection with each other and I have good friends at the Northern Refugee Centre, our community is very nice. We are very friendly with each other outside the office, we’re very good friends. We are like brother and sister because every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from nine o’clock until three or four we are with each other.
Volunteering has had good benefits for me because we didn’t have any voluntary jobs in my country and I have learnt you can do anything without any salary you know it’s very good. I can put volunteering on my CV as well. I’m not lazy at home as well it’s very good because was very active in my country, I was very busy in my university with my family but now if I couldn’t do anything I’d go into depression, it’s better then nothing you know.
I think it’s important for asylum seekers and refugees to volunteer. Some of my friends say ‘we couldn’t find any jobs’ but why do you think because you don’t have any good language. If you want to improve your language then its better you go into society and do something like a voluntary job. I have to be the best person I can in my job, without salary or with salary it’s no problem for me.
VAS was very helpful for me, both for finding voluntary jobs and the next step for getting work. Volunteering is good, it’s very good. You know it was very difficult for me at first because I wasn’t volunteering but now it’s great, I’m very happy. At the Northern Refugee Centre I have good friends and feel happy because I can help some people. If I can do something I can share with another person it gives me a very good feeling.
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