I never expected that I would make friends for life. I never thought I’d learn how to say goodnight in nine languages or be able to memorise the Arabic alphabet off by heart.
There are moments of sadness when I hear my friends tell stories of their lives, what they have faced in order to find safety. I am motivated to continue this work because every single day I am reminded of the horrors faced by someone I would never have known existed.
I have supported and prepared individuals for their substantive interview, register to college, have access to decent food and spent countless hours fighting for their right to financial support. I also began to notice the sheer number of phones being seized at the UK borders that weren’t getting returned. I’m now working with three law firms to return mobile phones to 88 individuals who have contacted Care4Calais for help.
I am currently supporting 60 individuals to also access legal support, the youngest being only 16 years old. I wouldn’t be able to do this work without my trilingual translator and friend, Sol, who has been by my side to translate stories that are just unimaginable.
This isn’t just some voluntary experience I can use to impress potential employers, this experience has changed my perspective on humanity and life forever. I will be forever grateful to the friends I have made through Care4Calais. They inspire me every single day, they remind me that no matter what, I should never give up. I recently moved to Leeds and I can’t wait to finally put a face to the voices I’ve been hearing on WhatsApp for many months.
I’ve been volunteering with Care4Calais and the Access team since August 2020. We were originally a new team of six, a team that is now reaching 30 incredible volunteers. My role is to support asylum seekers to communicate with lawyers.
To keep going we desperately need some admin support. We now have over 1,500 clients – a lot to organise. If you can spare a few hours a week to help us keep operating please email [email protected]