Volunteering at the Fight for Peace London Academy – Heena’s story

08/06/2018 – The tireless work of volunteers is crucial to Fight for Peace and our partners around the world. Here Heena, a volunteer at our London Academy, explains how she got involved, what she has got out of her experience and why she doesn’t want to leave!

I began volunteering at Fight for Peace through my university. I study Applied Social Science and Community and Youth Work at Goldsmiths, University of London and I was interested in Fight for Peace’s approach to supporting young people. I was especially attracted by the idea of working closely with young people and as part of a team.

My initial placement at Fight for Peace was for three months and over that period I was supporting the Employability programme, as well as working in female engagement and helping develop leadership skills through the Youth Council. I helped Fight for Peace members in preparing their CVs, searching for jobs and getting ready for interviews. I worked on engaging young women in the sports sessions and in female only workshops, where young women and girls come together and facilitate sessions to build a range of skills. And I also supported the Youth Leadership Coordinator, helping develop young leaders among Fight for Peace members.

From each role I learned different things. Working with the Youth Council challenged me to voice my opinions and I had to step out of my comfort zone to facilitate sessions which is not something that I would ordinarily put myself forward to do. I have learned it’s important to leave your comfort zone and try new things. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak up because at the end of the day everyone’s voices are valuable and if you keep it in then you are not really helping anyone.

In Employability, I was guided by the programme coordinator but I was also given the space to work independently with Fight for Peace members. For me this worked really well. I am very open with all of the members that I work with and I think that that has made it easier for them to trust me if they have any issues they need support in.

I feel like I have had an impact and have done some good! I didn’t think that I would make the relationships that I have done and that’s one of the reasons that I have stayed on because I really don’t want to leave Fight for Peace. I have now moved into a more long term role as an Employability Volunteer, working one day per week and at other times when a young person needs support.

I really appreciate the work that Fight for Peace does. The way that sports are incorporated with education and personal development, I can see first hand that it really benefits a lot of young people.