Written by Marah Rayan, Volunteer

Jan sits across from me in a small room where she and I are having a friendly conversation. Sipping her tea, she leans forward on the table, her eyes speak of wisdom while her bob radiates that classic 70s style.

When I ask her about her journey to Hestia and volunteering, Jan tells a story that’s far from a walk on the clouds. In fact, Jan started volunteering after a personal trauma she survived and as a result wanted to help everyone who find themselves in her previous shoes.

“My primary aim was to interact with service users, to say that I understand. That I’ve been there” Jan says “I can almost look at somebody and know whether they’ve suffered from domestic abuse

Jan’s drive to fight domestic abuse and raise awareness of it is inspiring. She appreciates new laws and efforts made to try and fix this looming issue even though to this day, younger generations are sadly still under-educated in all its demons.

“People don’t accept that it doesn’t just end when you walk away, unfortunately” she continues “You can create a whole new life for yourself but it has to be away from that person who abused you. Because they still hold the power to abuse you again. That’s why there should be a tie up to the laws”

In an attempt to shift the conversation to a more neutral grounds, I ask Jan about her role in Hestia and why it is so important. Jan’s face lights up before she answers

“I take the satisfaction survey, the data base of all the information put in” she explains “We look at different things from the years before and we see whether we’re making things better” she finishes her simply and effortlessly put together definition of her role at Hestia.

The customer insight volunteer helps collect feedback from service users. This feedback is to be added to the data base of previous years and updated. Then, through data analysis, it helps Hestia identify whether they’re improving or in need of improvement in certain areas. What’s great about the role is that it gives people the platform to speak up and voice their opinions.

“Hestia is a professional organisation. It has proper procedures and proper policies. They are well published and anybody can read them and understand what’s going on.”

Jan speaks highly of Hestia given her history of working with multiple organisations helping refugees and specifically women, since she retired in 2010.

I ask her about her hopes and dreams for the future and why she decided to take upon herself a volunteering role when she could be doing everything she couldn’t do before retiring. She smiles and says that as long as she is useful she will continue doing what she does now. I smile back at this strong, inspiring woman who made my day simply better and my job easier.

To conclude I ask Jan what advice she has for people who want to volunteer…

“You’ve got to recognise that if you’re volunteering, you’ve got to make a commitment” she says “I think of it as a job and therefore it’s my responsibility”

Volunteer for Hestia

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