International Volunteer Day

Today marks International Volunteer Day which was designated by the United Nations in 1985 as an international observance day to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism.

It’s true that the more we give, the happier we feel. Volunteering increases self-confidence and allows the opportunity to learn new skills and enhance others. What’s better than giving back to the community?  Volunteering gives you the sense and feelings of accomplishment, pride and identity. 

Here are a couple of our brilliant volunteers explaining in their own words why they do it.


Anissa is one of our amazing volunteers. She comes originally from Tunisia but she lived in Spain for many years and graduated in Political Sciences. Currently, Anissa is pursuing a Masters degree in Equality and Human Rights at the University of Glasgow.

Anissa first came to Scotland two years and a half ago, and since then she has developed a personal interest in social movements and human rights organisations, Anissa decided to join Amnesty International where she participated in different campaigns and events to support human rights activists.

"By the end of 2015 stories of thousands of refugees trying to seek refuge in Europe started hitting the news," said Anissa. "I was happy to see many acts in Scotland to welcome refugees and asylum seekers and to pressure the government to take action.

"During one of these events I came across Scottish Refugee Council and after having a brief chat with one of their volunteers, I became very interested in the work they were doing and decided to join the organisation."


Clo cares very strongly about the issues facing refugees and asylum seekers, and she is currently lending us her skills and time. Clo volunteers and works in different organisations such as Free Pride and LGBT Unity. Ultimately Clo wants to help people and in particular refugees and asylum seekers to have all the support they need to integrate smoothly into the community.


Mustafa arrived in the UK in 2015. Mustafa had already finished his third year as a Medicine student in Syria but had to stop studying to flee the war. After receiving refugee status in the UK, he left London to pursue his dream of finishing his degree in Scotland.

Mustafa said: ‘’From day one in Scotland I wanted to integrate and know more about the culture, traditions and lifestyle. I had no connections or friends so when I came across the Scottish Refugee Council volunteering open day I came and met a representative whom I found very informative and helpful. I have joined Scottish Refugee Council to work on the peer education project (click to read more).

I attended training prior to starting the project and I picked up new skills as well as enhancing my communications skills. The aim of the project was to organise multiple sessions to invite refugees and asylum seekers and give them information about the health sector and NHS, besides telling them about the activities they can join.

I have helped the fundraising department as well with the Refugee Speakers Programme."

The first time Mustafa applied to study medicine at the University of Glasgow he was rejected as his English language ability was a barrier and he had a weak personal statement.

In order to get a place on the course, Mustafa started building up a unique personal statement by volunteering and gaining work experience. After two years of hard and dedicated work, Mustafa now is a full-time medical student at the University of Glasgow.

Mustafa said: "I only had to believe in myself but I have to mention the continuous support people gave me along the way and here I am now a student again.

"I loved Glasgow as a city and the never-ending friendliness of Scottish people. I made connections here and I don’t feel alone anymore. Of course, I miss Syria but I love Glasgow so much.

"I find the kilt dance very interesting and I enjoy my vegan haggis too, my favourite place is the Mitchell Library as I spend a lot of time studying there. I like it when it rains but I am not a fan of wind."

Mustafa would like to become a successful doctor and give as much as possible of his love, care and knowledge to the community and to Scotland.

At Scottish Refugee Council, we believe in volunteers and we know that without volunteers our work would be much more difficult. Having volunteers across the organisation allows us to reach more people and spreads the spirit of creativity and new ideas.

Esther Muchena, Services Manager – Scottish Refugee Council.

Volunteering at Scottish Refugee Council covers a wide range of activities that benefit or support others in the community.

What are the benefits of volunteering with Scottish Refugee Council?

Volunteering with us is a worthwhile experience with many benefits such as:

  • Working with dynamic team members in interesting areas of work
  • Taking part in team meetings, staff conferences and members’ events
  • Training and other learning opportunities
  • Developing existing and new skills
  • Making a positive difference in someone’s life
  • Gaining references for future employment
  • Gaining a first-hand understanding of UK work culture
  • Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses such as travel and lunch

You can find more details by clicking here

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