She also volunteered with the India for Arts programme, which used different methods including yoga, and trauma management to help people overcome the horrors of war and conflict. She coordinated health campaigns and organized activities for autistic children and their families.
She and her three teenage children had to leave Damascus in Syria when the horrible war situation escalated out there. It just wasn’t safe anymore. Her husband is still there.
Raouda has been in Glasgow for 3 months and whilst her application to stay is being processed she has been one very busy lady.
She met Francine – who runs Volunteer Glasgow’s Taster Programme during an information event at the Sottish Refugee Council. After taking part in the course, Raouda has now become the very first Taster Buddy Volunteer. She assists Francine at every session and participates in every activity.
Raouda tells us jokingly “I love gardening – and visiting Urban Roots in Toryglen would have been great if it hadn’t been minus 2 degrees”. Her volunteering has left a big impression on her. Two organisations in particular.
“The Freedom Café offers food to people who can’t afford to pay a lot. I noticed that whilst the people were there to eat, what they were really hungry for was company. Someone to talk to, someone who lets them know that people do care. It was great to see their faces break into smiles and as their shyness went away, they really enjoyed in depth conversations with the volunteers.
The other organization that stays in my mind is the No 1 Befriending Agency monthly get together for older people who may be isolated and alone. I struck up a conversation with an 84 year old lady who had lost her husband and her 3 older children had moved away and started families of their own. Whilst I was talking to the lady I was fascinated by her story – and told her she should write a book. She seemed thrilled that someone had shown interest in her life. I could see the tension leaving her and the pleasure she was gaining from being able to talk to someone. I know that people in Glasgow would get more involved with volunteering if they knew that they could make such a difference to someone just by showing them that they matter – that someone cares”.
Raouda has also begun volunteering with the Refugee Survival Trust. Her plan is to find ways to help everyone understand that people fleeing war and torture want to work to find a way to be a real part of the Glasgow community.
Raouda says “I really like talking to people, letting them know I care. I don’t want people to feel lonely and isolated. I want to thank Scotland for giving me and my children a safe home. A safe place to live – and I want to show my thanks and gratitude through volunteering”