VJ's story

Advice and Advocacy by VJ

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I was home around 5:30 PM from my usual shift at Coventry Refugee Centre where I work voluntarily as a case worker with the Advice and Advocacy Team. Instead of turning on the television on to watch my favorite program on BBC 1 (Weakest Link) I opted to lie down and take a rest rest.

It has been 2 years since October 2008 when I started to do voluntary work with Coventry Refugee Centre. Rewinding my thoughts from 2 years ago I realised that I have many good memories as well as some difficult times during my work with the vulnerable people who are our clients. They are often fleeing their native countries with their hearts torn apart because of different political affiliations to that of the dominant party in power at the time.

To start with, I have never felt as good in my life than when I am helping other people. I feel very glad when I am able to help someone and they appreciate what I have done. Supporting vulnerable people is a big challenge as I considering myself to be in the driving seat to help drive them towards a better life. Respect is my motto for any individual client and to always give hope where possible. As a volunteer caseworker my job is to tackle immigration and support issues through making the right decisions, possibly by referring clients to other organisation such as Solicitors, Social Services, and Citizen Advisory Bureau. I also write letters and make telephone calls on their behalf to agencies such as UK Border Agency departments and housing providers, to help them find out more information about resolving their situation.

Believe me, I have learnt so much from volunteering as I work with a great team where we shared a range of working skills to benefit our clients. In addition I thank and respect Coventry Refugee Centre for giving me the platform to share my working skills through volunteering. I think that anyone who has got a chance to give time to other people or to the community should do so.