Full name: Ferhunda Amjid
Degree title: English Literature and Sociology
Year of study: 3 (on placement)
Organisation names: Birmingham Vision and Kids Out
Role title: Social Inclusion Volunteer (Birmingham Vision) and Story Translator (Kids Out)
What do typical days in your volunteering roles look like?
A typical day of volunteering at Birmingham Vision includes meeting and greeting service users upon arrival, sight-guiding them and supporting them throughout events.
There isn’t necessarily a typical day for KidsOut because I translate stories whenever I have the spare time.
What have been the highlights of your roles so far?
The highlight of my role for Birmingham Vision has been seeing the smiles on service users’ faces. The charity really encourages independence and helps service users to have a good time at events, so it feels really good to contribute.
The highlight of my role for KidsOut is that I have the freedom to translate stories whenever I want and feel like I can still make a difference, no matter how busy I am.
What skills have you developed?
With regards to Birmingham Vision, I have learnt to be much more confident and independent when communicating with others. As the service users are visually impaired, I must use other methods to communicate and feel comfortable with taking control over situations.
With regards to KidsOut, I have learnt to use my free time productively and to be precise with my translations so that the authenticity of a story is not lost.
Why did you decide to volunteer?
I decided to volunteer because I am interested in the public sector and want to experience the work behind charities first-hand. It is also a really great opportunity to enhance your CV.
How do you juggle volunteering and studying?
As we are all paying for our university degrees, it is important to make sure we maintain it as our focal point. I made sure University was kept as a priority and filled in the gaps I had with volunteering for events or translating stories.
How have the skills and experience you’ve gained from your volunteering roles helped you in other areas of your life?
My experience in volunteering has helped me explore the public sector and understand what it means to work for a charity. I also feel that it has helped me find my placement and in understanding what my strengths and weaknesses are.
What advice would you give to other students thinking about or looking for a volunteering role?
I would say do something you are passionate about first and foremost. Doing many unpaid hours voluntarily only has its charm if you are enjoying yourself and feel that you are contributing towards a greater cause and making a difference to your community.
What are your plans for when you finish your degree?
I hope to pursue a career in the public sector.