Carolyn R story

In August 22018,I was made redundant.  This was completely out of the blue and was a huge shock for me, as I absolutely loved my job and had not envisaged stopping work at any time soon.  I soon adjusted, however, to having been released from the restrictions of the working day timetable and really began to enjoy the freedom of being able to do exactly what I wanted when I wanted.  I missed the social aspect of going to work; however, I still wanted something to challenge me intellectually.  I also think that having been given all this freedom, I shofreedom,doing something worthwhile with it. I had always thought that I would do some sort of volunteering when I stopped work; I started my working life as a solicitor helping people struggling with debt, insurance companies and the court process and then moved to Chetham’s School of Music as the Deputy Head in charge of pastoral care – overseeing all safeguarding, welfare and healthcare aspects of students’ complicated lives in a busy city centre specialist boarding school.

I have thus spent my whole working life reassuring and helping people and this seemed a good fit with volunteering so, having had some contact with Revive through a friend who was supporting an asylum seeker, I applied to volunteer there.  Six months on I can honestly say that I think it is the best thing that I have ever done.  It has made me realise how narrow the scope of my life was/is and how extremely fortunate I am to have been born when and where I was.  I have been overwhelmed and inspired by the stories of all the different people that I have come across: asylum seekers, refugees, volunteers and workers alike and I have really enjoyed getting to know everyone.  There is always a great atmosphere at the drop-in sessions and the team who work and volunteer there are fantastic. 

I am writing this during the lockdown and am aware that this period will be causing challenges and difficulties for many people.  One such person is an asylum seeker I have got to know through Revive called Hatameh. She  Hatameh is an amazing young woman who left Iran with her husband and young son and walked to Greece.  From there, they managed to get a flight to the UK but her husband and son were stopped at the airport in Athens as they were leaving so Hatameh was forced to travel to England by herself. She discovered soon after arriving that she was pregnant. Her application for leave to remain was denied and so was her subsequent appeal.  She has no idea when she will see her husband and son (now 8 years old) again. She has however remained upbeat, positive and cheerful.  Last week she gave birth to a baby boy, Ayden, at St Mary’s Hospital and I had the absolute privilege of being present at the birth.  The baby is absolutely gorgeous and once again, despite having had a caesarean operation and a few difficult days in the hospital, and having to undergo pregnancy and childbirth in a foreign country, during an international pandemic, essentially without family or many friends, and with no knowledge at all of when she will see her husband and oldest son again, Hatameh remains positive and cheerful.  When I asked her the other day whether, given the uncertain situation with her husband and son, she ever regrets leaving Iran, she was horrified and said on the contrary, she was “very excited” about her future life in England.  I am left speechless by her resilience. Meeting Hatameh and others like her have been amazing.  It has made me really value my life and determined not to let my children ever take their good fortune for granted.  Volunteering has also given me a real sense of purpose and I am grateful to all the people I have met and who are involved in the whole process.  I really look forward to seeing everyone again soon.



Copyright © 2012 - 2016 Revive-uk. All rights reserved | Website by Lande