How volunteering changed my life
When Saumya Singh arrived in the UK and struggled for 18 months to find work, her confidence was severely affected. But when she signed up to a local volunteering project for migrant women, she could not have guessed just how much it would turn things around.
I came to the UK in September 2012 from India when my husband chose to study for his fellowship in Emergency Medicine here. With a thriving career back in India I arrived in the UK full of hope that my academic background would open numerous doors for me here too. For 18 months I constantly applied for jobs, rarely getting an interview. After numerous rejections I almost lost hope of ever finding a job.
I have always been confident but I became overwhelmed with self-doubt. Then one day I registered to the Evolution project run by CSV Media in Ipswich, a volunteering programme for refugees, asylum seekers and migrant women who have recently moved to the UK. I signed up to do some exciting courses and realised I could gain qualifications to improve my chances of getting into employment.
I felt really motivated and didn’t want to miss any opportunity to get out there. I visited CSV regularly and one day poured my heart out to Gauri, the Project Co-ordinator. She understood me so well, and due to my MBA in healthcare management she asked me to volunteer at the CSV Media Roadshows, part of Enable East’s Big Lottery Funded Well-being in the East portfolio.
The roadshows gave me a chance to use my potential. Going to different areas, reaching out to people, encouraging them to pursue healthy lives and liaising with other organisations was hugely satisfying. It was great to see people from diverse backgrounds coming together to build a strong community.
Today I work as a Project Officer for the Evolution project. I owe so much to the Well-being in the East Roadshows, where my interests were nurtured, my passion for working with people was recognised and my enthusiasm to help build healthier, stronger communities became evident. Today I don’t feel isolated; I belong to this community as much as this community belongs to me.
The Well-being in the East portfolio, delivered by Enable East, was made up of 29 projects delivered across the East of England, the North East and the East Midlands. It aimed to improve the well-being and resilience of individuals and families through increased physical activity, healthier eating and improved emotional health.
To find out more, visit Enable East’s website.