Meet Yumi, our amazing volunteer organising access to education
‘I started volunteering in August after answering a call for clothing donations – I thought I was only going to be distributing clothes during my annual leave. But I was so appalled by conditions at the hotels, and made so many friends – asylum seekers and other volunteers – that I couldn’t walk away.
The shock of learning to what extent human rights are abused all over the world and the approach of our government made me feel like this was something I had to stick with.
You need to look after yourself so that you can volunteer sustainably – be willing to learn, take a person centred approach and recognise how much privilege we have to live in comfort and safety. I feel like I’m making a real difference – the right way isn’t always the easy way and it’s so good to know that I’m fostering independent living for people who are dependent on kindness and charity work. Becoming independent is hugely empowering for them.’
Yumi is one of our amazing UK volunteers responsible for helping asylum seekers access English lessons so that they can get more comfortable with the language and with integrating into a new community and culture.
Along with our hotel leads (a special shout out to Matilda, Charlotte and Karolina), Yumi has organised a pilot referral scheme for asylum seekers we’re supporting in London and further around the UK, with whom she’s completed initial assessments in person or over the phone. Soon, individuals will be able to attend bespoke assessment days in order to be placed in a class that’s right for them.
A, who Yumi has been working with recently, said: ‘Thank you for your help with the IELTS course, I couldn’t have done it without you. I was lucky to have you on my side all the time and you kept pushing me to do it, I feel like it’s the right step to achieve my goals. The help you are offering is a life changer for refugees, thank you from the bottom of my heart.’
To volunteer in the UK email firstname.lastname@example.org.