PROJECT NAME: OUTWARD HOUSING
VOLUNTEER NAME: MARIANA
Since February, 2013, I am working with Outward Housing, a charity part of The Newlon Group, with more than 25 years of experience. They operate services in nine London boroughs, supporting well over a thousand vulnerable people to be more independent in their lives.
INFORMATION ABOUT MYSELF
I am from Brazil and 28 years old. I finished my Journalism University in 2006 and I did master degree as well. I was looking for a different experience to improve myself helping people in need. When I choose my subject in the university I was looking for a human side of it. I worked in some companies improving their skills but it was missing something inside me.
WHAT WAS A WORKING DAY LIKE?
My workings days were never looking like workings days. Every day I was going to the residence house of four lovely ladies with more than 50 years old, low mobility and some kind of disability like Down’s Syndrome, autism, mental problems or paralysis. They were always teaching me something new even though it was difficult to understand them on the beginning, because they have difficulties to speak as well. A lot of people say that we cannot be so close of our clients while we are doing some activities with them, like helping to do their shopping list, to do shopping, use the bus on street, clean their rooms, do laundry or just have fun in the disco, on Fridays night. But how can you don’t love them when they are treating you like their best friend, daughter or granddaughter? I was always learning something new and teaching then some curiosities on the computer or to cook some Brazilian food.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY ABOUT LIVING IN A DIFFERENT CULTURE?
I enjoyed a lot to be respected while I am leaving the tube and other circumstances, the British style to apologize for everything, the cheap way to travel to other cities in Great Britain by train or bus and to other countries, the organization of the city, cleaning, apple pie with custard and ice cream, the simple way of life.
WHAT DID YOU ACHIEVE?
This is a very difficult question to answer. It was not easy to start a new life in a new country but I am proud of myself and I am very grateful to ICYE UK because they introduced me to a lot of amazing people, including all staff and a lot of volunteers with a big heart. I know I am a person more patient and flexible, I improved my listening and my way to speak English and I am happy because day after day I am still learning to be a better person, simple, honest and keeping calm and drinking tea!