'It is a way of putting myself out there and allowing myself to impact other people's lives with the seemingly small things I take part in.'
The Student Awards were held this month and we’re celebrating the wonderful work of the nominated students. Katlo Batsile, volunteers with Oxfam, RSBP and is also a Team Leader with the One-off Volunteering Programme, was nominated for the 'Contribution to the Local Community' Award.
Tell us about your work.
I work with the Students' Association as a Team leader, this opportunity is a chance for me to work with as many charities as possible as in one-off activities: this role in particular allows me to contribute without limitation to one cause precisely why I chose to do take on the position. I volunteer as well with RSPB as a pin-box minder working in collaboration with businesses in Edinburgh to raise funds for towards the cause of providing homes to Scottish Wildlife. Lastly, I volunteer with Oxfam as a Customer Service Assitant, a role that has personally challenged my interpersonal skills and awareness of global issues Oxfam tackles.
When did you start?
I started at Oxfam in the summer of 2018 doing about four hours a week and a few hours a month during the semester depending on my availability as I have to juggle my academic load with my other areas of responsibility and hobbies. I started working with the Students' Association and RSPB in September 2018. In a month, I would estimate that I spend about 6 hours at the most volunteering, this could be just about anything from helping with a fundraising Ceilidh, Christmas-card making, a marathon and most recently a beach clean up.
What are your roles?
As a Team Leader it's my job to lead student volunteers to charity events and to liaise with the charities. It is included in my resposibilities to encourage other students to volunteer. As a pin box-minder with RSPB, I have the responsibility of liaising with businesses around Edinburgh to allow us to raise funds through their property by displaying pin boxes. As a Customer Service Assistant, I assist customers and generally in the store with sorting, pricing, and shelving of items.
How have you found the experience of volunteering in the community?
Volunteering is not the easiest of things to do. The quantity of time matters less than the quality or how you spend the time you volunteer. It is important to wholeheartedly want to volunteer than to do it half-heartedly. Through the volunteering I do, I have met people and made friends, people I would not have otherwise met if I hadn't started upon this route. It is a way of putting myself out there and allowing myself to impact other people's lives with the seemingly small things I take part in.
What have you gained from this experience?
Volunteering is has always been about giving my time to contribute to causes I believe in. I think it's important not only to live for ourselves but to also help other groups or communities that could be marginalised or discriminated against because of their financial situation, origin or health situations. One major takeaway for me is how important it is to disregarding whatever judgment or beliefs one might have about other people's situations, this, in particular, has broadened my perspective about some social issues. In terms of development, the chance to volunteer has allowed me to reflect on skills I want to work on going forward. This, of course, was possible with the support from the Students' Association Volunteering Service dedicated to and focused on making sure they make available such opportunities and many others that potentially contribute to our personal development.