Why I volunteer to support refugees

Shari-Ann Palmer Chevening Scholar

I volunteered as a communication and social media officer for the Reading Refugee Support Group (RRSG). My role at the charity included posting to and updating content on RRSFG’s social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram.

I also provided administrative support to the officer manager. In this capacity, I assisted in establishing an internal communication system at the office for staff and volunteers. I also designed the end-of-year certificates for corporate sponsors within the town of Reading.

In addition to my role, I spent my time with RRSG getting acquainted with the refugees and asylum seekers who we supported. I especially enjoyed my interactions with those that came into the office for English classes and the other programmes there.

Why I volunteered with this organisation

Having followed the refugee crisis in the media over the last couple of months, I became very interested in their struggle. Therefore, when presented with the opportunity through the University of Reading to volunteer with RRSG, I thought it was the perfect fit to combine my skills and knowledge in communication, having worked in media for a couple of years, and my present studies in international development. My current studies also align perfectly with the RRSG’s goal of reducing poverty, suffering, and the social exclusion of people.

These refugees and asylum seekers have been forced from their home countries into one that, although is a country that has welcomed them, is unfamiliar. Being in an unfamiliar space is uncomfortable. Therefore, I felt it important to help in making their transition and settlement into the United Kingdom easier through my role of spreading awareness of the charity thereby encouraging sponsorships and donations.  

Empowering the destitute and marginalised

Additionally, as the number of staff is limited because of reduced funding, volunteers are essential if RRSG is to continue to provide services to this special community of people. Hence, my contribution was vital to the continuation of the charity.

Volunteering with RRSG has given me more impetus to not only study international development but to also contribute to the global efforts towards the empowerment of the destitute and marginalised, so that they can go on to live purposeful lives. In addition, the feeling of immense satisfaction that I have done something worthwhile for a fellow human being is wonderful.

Why volunteer?

Volunteering is a great opportunity to make a significant impact in a small way. The ripple effects of spending just a few hours per week in your local community goes a long way in helping to better someone’s life, and to empower them and positively shape their experiences.

In addition, volunteering adds purpose to your life and makes you feel good about yourself. It is also excellent for meeting new people and making new friends. It will teach you how to balance different spheres of your life.