VOLUNTEER STORIES VALENTINE GIGANDET - PUPPETRY WORKSHOPS STEVE HATHWAY - ESOL I have been attending Oasis since the autumn of 2014. I help out with the teaching of english and attend the weekly FAN meeting which is a discussion group which is friendly and welcoming regardless of english language ability. I have also taken refugees to the opera and in the past have had some great experiences of accompanying refugees on a wide variety of outings. I find the people at Oasis to be lovely good hearted people despite the problems and uncertainties they face. I attend Oasis because I enjoy it, meeting people from all over the world, who have lived through the headlines you sometimes see on the News. I get more out of it than I put in without doubt. PAUL BATTENBOUGH - GUITAR SAVANNA TEUBES - WOMEN'S ART & CRAFTS Volunteering at Oasis has truly been a heartwarming experience thus far! I do art with the refugee and asylum seeking women. Here the women are allowed to enter a safe space without feeling pressured to verbalize how they are feeling. We all unite and express through art. I have found it truly touching seeing how art is able to bring women from various backgrounds together, so effortlessly. We focus on the process of creating art instead of the product of the artwork. It is beautiful watching the women’s faces light up as time passes and as they get deeper and deeper immersed in their artwork. It has been a huge pleasure working with the women as well as the staff at Oasis. I can see the magical journey of artistic expression unfold and transcend all boundaries. This experience has affirmed that I would like to further my studies to pursue a career in art therapy. I have felt extremely welcomed and included and would like to thank you all for that. ALIS CARTAGENA - CATERING For me to volunteer and to be able to contribute my grain of sand means a lot for me, since I always liked to serve the community. And it is also the most direct way to thank all of you for what you do for us. Since we got here to Cardiff my family and I have felt supported by Oasis Cardiff and in Oasis I've met people who motivate me to be better. YARA HIJAZI -MURAL ASHA CORNELIUS - RECEPTION I am currently in my second year at Cardiff University studying Human Geography. I decided to volunteer on the reception at Oasis Cardiff with refugees and asylum seekers after studying forced migration at ‘A’ level. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering at Oasis as it has allowed me to meet new people, who I wouldn’t have necessarily met otherwise. It has allowed me to learn about a variety of different cultures and has encouraged me to look into a career surrounding refugee and asylum seekers. SUE SHIELDS - WOMEN'S ART & CRAFTS Volunteering at Oasis is fun and fulfilling. The women's art and craft area recently worked on decorations for International Women’s Day. We co operated with the music group, who operate in the same room, and came up with colourful and individual takes on costumes, trees and butterflies - dealing with lots of global issues and lots of creativity! CEINWEN JONES - ESOL I started volunteering at Oasis in September 2018 as an ESOL teacher for the morning drop-in sessions. I am a pensioner now with a varied career behind me, but many years ago I was a teacher of ESOL in Madagascar for two years. I decided to volunteer because I wanted to use that experience - however distant - to be of help to refugees and asylum-seekers. Once started, I found that the old skills, though rusty, soon came back into action, the main difference being that nowadays we can use technology to help us! The drop-in sessions vary in numbers, personnel and levels, but we often see the same students returning week after week, and it is gratifying to see their enjoyment as they realise that their English is improving. A grasp of English, and of a few words of Welsh, is so important for the future of the students, whatever they do, and I am happy to have the opportunity, in however small a way, to get them started. It has been a pleasure to work with the teaching assistants and staff, too.