11 October 2016
International student volunteers from Edinburgh College have been giving up their time to help refugees by sorting donations for Refugee Action Scotland (Re-Act).
The group of four ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) students helped gather and sort donations, which are then sent to refugees in the worst affected areas of Calais, Greece and Syria. This is part of a project launched in response to the worldwide refugee crisis by Re-Act.
The volunteering is part of a pilot project at the college called 'Volunteer for Success' to support international students to get involved in volunteering work both within the college and externally. The aim is to enhance integration of international students into the college and local communities as well as improving their CVs and arm them with the confidence required for future studies and employment. The work is supported by a UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) grant.
As well as the volunteering with Re-Act, the students will also have the opportunity to take part in other volunteering opportunities including a fundraising event with the Edinburgh Dog & Cat Home and Upcycled World to raise funds for the charity and provide a platform for upcyclers to connect and network (29 October).
Raymond Considine, a director of Re-Act, said: "It was a pleasure to meet the Edinburgh College student volunteers. They were very enthusiastic and helped make it an extremely efficient and successful donation day. Some of the students have already expressed an interest in volunteering for us again, so we can look forward to seeing them at future donation days."
As a result of the help provided by the volunteers, all donations, which amounted to a lorry full of bags, were sorted and ready for shipment to refugees in one day. Donations include everything from clothing, shoes, blankets, toiletries and mobility aids.
The student volunteers are from Venezuela, Brazil and Colombia, two of which are part of the English language scholarship programme at Edinburgh College.
Juan Hernandez Mora, one of the scholarship students, said: "I volunteered because it is a really good cause. Whilst studying in Edinburgh, I have some free time and I want to help people that may need it. It was a good experience and I got to meet new people, learn new things and help people in need."
The college is also working to connect students to year-round individual volunteering opportunities and supports them to undertake these by offering reasonable expenses for volunteering purposes.