Volunteers Week 2020 – International interpreter Naglaa explains what volunteering means to her

Its Volunteers Week 2020 and we’re asking people who’ve volunteered with us to share their lived experience and what it has meant to them. We’re incredibly grateful to all our volunteers who play a vital role in the support we provide to people living with mental distress.

Naglaa volunteers with the Southwark Wellbeing Hub, which is part of Together, to gain experience she needs for an Information, Advice and Guidance (IAG) course she is undertaking at St Giles Trust. She works part-time as an international interpreter and since joining the hub in May last year has been helping clients at drop-in sessions and over the phone. Naglaa was kind enough to share her reflections on how she has found the experience of volunteering:

“I’ve found that volunteering in the hub has given me the opportunity to inform, advise and empower clients to be independent and positive participants in their communities. The values of empowering, respect for diversity, confidentiality and impartiality of the service are what attracted me.

During my role as a volunteer I’ve learned how to listen actively and passionately to clients, identify the problem and try to suggest options that will help solve that. I assist with telephone calls and provision of materials available in the rich database of the hub to then refer or signpost service users to relevant services. I enjoyed the whole process.

I find it very rewarding helping people to achieve goals, solve problems and enjoy a better life. One should be trustworthy, listen attentively, acknowledge client suffering and offer various options to solve their problem.

I sympathise with people going through difficult times specially mental health conditions. I do understand their suffering because I am a survivor. From my experience I believe that mental health conditions are part of our life story and anybody will recover if found the right support. I would like to continue my role as a volunteer in the hub sharing my knowledge and experiences to help clients, and take IAG further in my career.