Meet Katerina, one of our brilliant student volunteers in Leeds
‘I’m a second-year student of Social Policy and Crime at Leeds University. My degree has enabled me to learn a lot about social inequality. When my friend, Ruby, went to volunteer in Calais, she came back speaking so highly of Care4Calais that I was keen to get involved, and joined my local team in February 2021.
It’s great that volunteers can get involved with as much as they like, and you can choose which activities suit you. As a student, I can volunteer whilst keeping on top of my uni work. I started off doing the walks and social activities, and recently I’ve been collecting donations all over Leeds.
At the picnic yesterday, I spent ages talking to A about Game of Thrones – we both love it and actually like the same characters. It’s just little things like that. He messaged me once to say, ‘I think we’ll be friends for life.’ That was so touching, especially seeing as I haven’t been volunteering for that long.
It’s heart-breaking to hear about the people so many of the guys have had to leave behind. M has 3 kids back in Sudan, and every single night, he calls them to read them a bedtime story. It can be very difficult when the volunteers bring their own kids to activities. It’s a reminder of how long it might be before they’re reunited with their own families. Happily, one of the other guys got to visit his brother in Scotland the other day. He did make sure to tell me he couldn’t believe how cold it was up there compared to Leeds!
Although I was really nervous before I started, now I find it a lot easier to get chatting to people and quickly find out how we can help. You just need to ask lots of questions and get stuck in. All the volunteers were new once – everyone understands how you’re feeling!
These guys have so much to offer. Why can’t we let them? The public needs to know how amazing they all are. If I was in their situation, I would find it so difficult to trust people. But it isn’t the case at all – they are just so warm and generous despite everything. If they can go through all that and keep smiling, then it’s the least I can do to try and help them.’ – Katerina, Care4Calais (UK) volunteer
To volunteer with us in the UK, email [email protected].