Written by Mursal and Yasmin– Volunteers at ACAA
This week is volunteer week, a chance for people to give back to their communities and help those less fortunate. With this in mind we thought we should write about our first experience volunteering and some of what we learnt at the ACAA. Before Dr Nasimi came to Lampton school we had no clue about what this charity does. Sure, we had heard about the organisation but we never really realised how much goes on behind the scenes.
Dr Nasimi and members of ACAA staff and volunteers came to our school to tell us all, and especially the Afghans, about what this charity does, who it supports and also to hopefully inspire some to try volunteering and help others integrate into the UK. Gradually we came to understand exactly how the charity helps marginalised groups in Afghanistan and how it benefits refugees here in London. We learnt about many of the services that volunteers run, for example they teach a Supplementary school for children from school years 3 to 10, provide free English classes for isolated women, as well as teach native tongue lessons in Farsi, Dari and Pashto. During the week volunteers also provided ESOL classes and free legal aid.
We were initially attracted to the Supplementary school and decided to try volunteering with it. What we instantly observed was the passion and the intensity of energy amongst the other volunteers who had set up and run this whole project and mini school to aid and improve the education of the refugees and asylum seekers. We saw just how much work went into running classes and realised how vital it is to be dedicated and motivated from the beginning to the end.
From the first week, we were able to work in the ACAA’s Supplementary school, to give a helping hand with KS2 and help the teacher to teach lessons. We also had the chance to appear on BBC Persian discussing the supplementary school. This was highly beneficial as we got to expand not only our work experience but also our CV. Volunteering is an amazing way of helping refugees and asylum seeker’s futures but also contributing to our future while doing fulfilling work. We have learnt many useful skills while volunteering, especially communications and leadership skills, both of which will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
We are looking forward to what the future can bring us with the charity.