Diwrnod Rhyngwladol y Gwirfoddolwyr | #GallwnGydanGilydd

Hub Cymru Africa is marking International Volunteer Day 2020 by shining the spotlight on one of our fantastic volunteers - Siôn.

Firstly, a message from the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres:

Around the world, volunteers have been assisting vulnerable groups, correcting misinformation, educating children, providing essential services to the elderly, and supporting front-line health workers. 

As we gradually recover from the pandemic, volunteers will have a key role to play in accelerating the transition to green, inclusive and just economies. Indeed, volunteering is the backbone of our societies.

Often working with the United Nations, volunteers build a sense of togetherness.

They strengthen social cohesion.

And they help to protect communities, especially by reaching those most at need.

That is why, on International Volunteer Day, I appeal to all governments to promote volunteering, support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Volunteers deserve our heartfelt thanks.

We asked our volunteer Siôn to write a bit about his experience volunteering with us and what he got out of it. Read his story, below:

I wanted to do some volunteering work after I’d graduated from uni, and while I was trying to sort the next step for my career. When I was looking at organisations to contact, the first onethat came to mind for me was Hub Cymru Africa (HCA). I’d been fortunate enough to meet some of their staff during an internship with another organisation before, and I thought if there were ever an opportunity to work with them then I’d like to go for it.

Fortunately for me, after I got in touch with HCA they came back to me very quickly to try and help arrange some volunteering. They were very receptive to what I wanted to get out ofthe experience, the areas that interested me, and they were very understanding of my reasons for wanting to volunteer. Trying to find work after graduating in a pandemic was stressful and disheartening at the best of times, so to have an organisation like HCA be so responsive and attentive was a really meaningful and great change.

I was placed with a charity called Dolen Ffermio, and the work that I did there really helped to give me a sense of purpose. Although I’d come into the volunteering thinking my role would be set to a particular set of duties, I was really pleased and surprised to find that I wasable to have some variety in what I was doing. It felt as though I really was contributing to the strategic direction of the charity as well as gaining practical experience in communications, which was what I’d initially wanted to achieve.

It was clear from the beginning that I could be flexible and put in as much time as I wanted; there was no pressure on me to commit to a certain number. Instead I was made to feel as though I was in control of my volunteering experience, in that sense. Everyone that I spoke with was very keen to make sure I had all the help and resources that I needed - it was definitely one of the most positive working experiences I’ve had, on that front.

What I’ve taken away from this experience is confidence in my abilities - whether that’s doingcommunications work through social media or gathering materials for content, to the more strategic side of planning what an online presence could and should look like, and then taking steps to put that in place. It really was a great experience, I felt like I’d developed and strengthened my communications skills, as well as abilities to organise and be responsible for managing documentation. To be exposed to and genuinely feel involved with the strategic element of the work I was doing was an incredible confidence booster, and a real highlight.

I’ve got nothing but positive reflections on my time volunteering and given the opportunity to come back to it in the future I know that HCA will definitely be the first place I get in touch with.