Nadia is a 19 year old from Tanzania, Zanzibar and arrived in Scotland late last year, around 7 months ago. Nadia left behind a sister, a brother, an aunt, cousins and friends with no family contacts here in Scotland. She is unsure when or if she will see any of her family.
In conjunction with one of our Partnership programme agencies, SERCO, It was thought it would be beneficial for Nadia to attend our sorting hub in order to get her out into the community, mixing with other people and improve her feelings of social isolation, not to mention, helping to improve her use of the English language. She was encouraged to come along for a trial day with us at the Sorting hub and had to find her way around a new city using a transport system alien to her. On her first visit with us we found Nadia to be timid and reluctant to converse with us at the offset, but as the weeks have passed and her attendance at Tollcross has continued she is coming out of her shell. We are learning about her and her family and life in Tanzania. All her family remain there, she is the only one who has come to the UK, quite a challenge for someone so young.
At the start, Nadia volunteered with us on a Thursday and Saturday afternoon, but is now attending a college for Media Studies training so limits her visit to a Saturday when we are manned. Initially she started sorting through donations as most of our volunteers do as a matter of course but now she is more than happy to try any new tasks we involve her with. After a little guidance on new tasks she can continue unsupervised and is not averse to doing any of the work contained within the tasks lists we have around the hub. Her confidence is building in more ways than one. She is now responding to us by text and email in English, albeit she says she is not so good at writing. We continually thank her for her efforts.
She is becoming more aware of what we are achieving within the charity and the environmental impact that results from volunteers assisting us. She enjoys taking part in breaks with the other volunteers and listens to our chat. She is slowly being trained to Revolve standards and recognises what is acceptable as a reuse garment. When asked why she has come to Scotland and why she volunteers with Merry-Go-Round, Nadia responded -
“I choose Scotland because Scottish people they are friendly, nice and helpful to refugee. It is quiet and peaceful country. It not easy for me to left my home and my family, I don't know when I will meet them again. I don't know what happen to me next, only God know that but I am feeling safety, I am really enjoying and I am happy to be volunteering with you. All of you, you are so kind to me and make me not to feel lonely. “
As an organisation having regular volunteers, from whatever background, within the hub is beneficial. Through volunteers like Nadia we have learned how to identify/improve problematic areas and develop better processes and procedures. We are finding out what does and doesn’t work and it is helping us to think about the need to streamline and simplify tasks in order to get the best from the hours that volunteers are giving to us.
Nadia is going through our induction processes as a ‘fully fledged’ volunteer, something we have decided to do slowly, and this give her a better understanding of the business mechanics of the charity. We are sure this will be more than beneficial to her in any future employment/endeavour that she may be part of in the coming years. Striving to retain volunteers within the charity is a top priority as the difference their time makes to us is immense. We hope Nadia will continue with us for a time to come and that we all continue to reap the benefits.