This UN International Volunteer Day, Hub Cymru Africa are celebrating the enormous contribution that goes into making Wales a globally responsible nation through volunteering. Volunteers work to support us directly. Throughout the country, groups make a global impact working in partnership with African organisations
In the last 14 months, 24 volunteers have donated 1207 hours to us. In doing so they have developed their skills and experience, increased their confidence to take action on global issues and to network with international development charities. All of our volunteers have got great things to say about volunteering, but Charlotte in particular has really shown how volunteering can benefit an individual career and the wider sector.
Charlotte graduated from Leeds University with a degree in International Development. She moved back to Cardiff and began working in a bar. Alongside her job she wanted to find a volunteering opportunity to bridge the gap between study and her professional career. She had assumed that she would not find an opportunity in international development in Cardiff as she didn’t know of any big charities headquartered here. However, she was pointed in the direction of Hub Cymru Africa and decided it would be the right opportunity for her.
Charlotte began volunteering for us 1 or 2 days a week at a particularly busy time for the organisation. There was plenty of activity to get involved in. The work included volunteering at events and doing scoping and research for HCA. Through this work she developed plenty of new skills and really built her confidence, but most importantly she valued the opportunity to build her networks and learn exactly what was going on in the sector. It made her more determined to work in International Development. University had given her an abundance of theoretical knowledge, but volunteering at HCA gave her the opportunity for practical application.
While Charlotte was volunteering for us, the Phoenix Project at Cardiff University got in touch to find out if HCA knew anyone who would be able to work for them on a temporary basis. Charlotte went for the role and now works for the Phoenix Project full time, something she feels volunteering at HCA helped her to achieve.
‘…Volunteering for a well-known and respected organisation like Hub Cymru Africa definitely helped me get the position. Phoenix Project know the organisation and could see the breadth of skills I had gained…’
She currently works as an administrator, but it’s a small team which means she gets to be involved in lots of different things, much like her time at HCA. She is confident that this role will lead to much more experience and a long career in international development in Wales. She still gets to keep her connection with HCA as well. She attends our events and training in a work capacity to keep her skills up to date, although she feels like she should be helping out! As much as she would love to continue volunteering for us, work is just too busy.
Her experience volunteering was a valuable one, so much so she recommends us to her friends who are still studying. One of the benefits of HCA is that we are so student friendly and make it easy for people to fit opportunities around study. She thinks it is important to volunteer and would advise anyone to get involved and try and get as much diverse experience as possible. It’s played an enormous part towards getting Charlotte onto the career path of her choice. Volunteering can be truly life changing!