June 5, 2017 - In Case Studies, News Articles, Volunteers

Ruth is a befriender at NAT. She has been volunteering with us for four years and she is currently doing a PhD on children’s rights and refugees and asylum law after doing a Master in Human Rights Law.  Ruth’s volunteering consists of making sure her befriendee (a refugee or asylum seeker supported by the befriender) has access to everything she needs, as well as negotiating crucial legal services and helping her to improve her English. ” I enjoy it, because you learn a lot about your befriendee and in the end it often becomes a friendship. She was partly my inspiration for my PhD.”, she adds. Ruth has also volunteered at World Food Nights hosted by NAT and for Refugee Week whenever she could. We are so grateful for all the time, effort and dedication Ruth has puts into the work she has done for us. It has helped our residents with their legal status but at the same time a great friendship has emerged, helping the refugees or asylum seekers feel supported and less lonely. Ruth also volunteers with some other organisations such as Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, the British Red Cross and STAR. When we asked her about what has inspired her and the things she had learned from her volunteering experience, she replied ”I am inspired by the resilience and strength of refugees and asylum seekers no matter what obstacle they face and their determination to integrate, and their hope for a better life.” Then she adds ”I have also learned about the hostility of the asylum system in the UK, its culture of disbelief and the impact that can have on asylum seekers, but at the same time there are people in the system who want to help.” On a more personal level, she said ”I have learned to fight and advocate for people’s rights and the importance of working hard to break down the language barrier.” When we ask her about the difficulties she encounters in her volunteering work she says ”My main issue is time, to find a balance between time I want to spend with my befriendee and my work obligations. Nevertheless, I get plenty of support at NAT and their training is good.” Well done Ruth!