The social side of being a volunteer

Last week a simple conversation in the park completely made my day.

I chatted to Adel, who came to London after fleeing Sudan, and the conversation pinged from books to relationships to food to places we’d both love to visit. It wasn’t just interesting, it was like a new awakening to meet someone so young who had been through so much and still had so much energy and enthusiasm.

For Adel, asylum means safety. In Sudan, there are many problems – food shortages and extreme violence are common, a safe future is just a dream.  He has risked everything to get here.  But since arriving and having just one short interview he’s been left in limbo for months on end, not knowing what is going to happen.  The long months drag slowly by – he is not allowed to work or study, and he’s had no counselling despite the horrific things he’s suffered.

And yet here he is – cheering me up and making me laugh, asking questions about my life.  I thought I was volunteering to help people.  But honestly it can be the most rewarding experience in the world.

Adel’s waiting for his asylum interview. I can’t think of anyone I’ve talked to who deserves to be here more.

  •       William, Care4Calais volunteer, London

We need more volunteers who can support asylum seekers in different ways. If you can help, please visit care4calais.org/get-involved/.

Adel is shown with Lulu the dog (centre), and her guardian and Care4Calais volunteer Laura. Picture: Danieal Sbrisny

About Care4Calais

Care4Calais was founded by a group of volunteers with the sole aim of supporting the people of the Calais refugee camps, providing fresh meals, warm clothing, heating and important legal and medical support.

We are not politicians – we are people like you who simply believe that every human has the right to be treated in a fair and dignified way.

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