In England, I am “enjoying” two different Volunteering jobs regarding two causes that are fundamental in my daily life:

  • Firstly, Health
  • Secondly, Training

You read it correctly! I am really enjoying my volunteering. Why? Because when I was living in Spain, I had limited availability to work as a volunteer (maybe I did not manage my time correctly…). I only did few collaborations and I was not able to be aware of what volunteering represented.

In Manchester, plenty of people work once a week as a volunteer, helping other people. There are many organizations. Main streets are full of charity shops (10.200 accounted in UK) that take care of sick people, orphans, refugees, families with low income, abandoned animals…

Who helps whom?

I have been working since last April inStockport’s charity shop ” Beechwod cancer care centre”. My job is  managing donations and selling items to customers to raise funds. Everything we sell comes from donations: clothes, furniture, books, discs, toys, jewelry, small appliances, cookware, decoration … Every day some one comes into the shop to offer a “gift”. They know that they are contributing to improving others’ lives. There are 12 of us in the shop: 11 volunteers and the store manager.

From the very first day, this experience is helping me to better appreciate the small details, to be aware of how  we all need each other, to awaken in me a new dream focused on the “intangible” and the “inmaterial”, to observe with a new perspective everything that surrounds us, to be more present, more attentive and more aware of the importance of being available for what really matters.

Who learns from whom?

Stopford Open Learning Centre, the school where I am improving my English, offered me last February  the opportunity to work as a volunteer helping Professor of English at Pre-entry level (initial). Students who attend this class usually have just arrived into England, they come from distant countries, with very different cultures. They are are eager to integrate and learn. Many of them lived very difficult situations in their home countries and feel tremendously grateful when you offer help. As a volunteer, my mission is to strengthen those who feel a little lost, not only with English but with the European culture. How can we achieve this?  Boosting their self-confidence and making them feel valued are the key factors.

Our learners in this class are World Citizens! …their home countries are Ethiopia, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, Iraq, Rumania,… They all led by our English/Irish professor Paul.

Since I started this volunteer five months ago, my learning is focused on better understanding of the world around us. Better knowing other cultures and personal stories makes us strong and makes us grow on a human level. I confirm once again that words and verbal language are only part of our communication. Your smile, your eye-contact, your gratitude, your empathy and your attitude are your true universal communication tools.

I encourage you to also experience volunteering. Please choose a cause that motivates you and  you will really enjoy being a volunteer. It is a really rewarding job!

Thank you to Beechwood Cancer Care center!

Thank you to Stopford Open Learning Centre!