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From Volunteer to Staff Member

To celebrate Refugee Week, we are collecting articles and pieces of writing from our volunteers. Today’s piece, comes from Stepheni, former volunteer who is now the Swansea City of Sanctuary Integration Officer.

I came to Swansea 8 years ago as an asylum seeker, it was a very difficult period of transition mentally physically and emotionally. Although I was in a place of safety it did not necessarily mean everything was fine because I  simultaneously  battled with the traumatic experiences that made me leave my native country, missing and worrying about my family and trying to adjust to a new environment.
The difference and the greatest impact  however is the welcome, acceptance and support I received from the local communities,individuals, community groups and service providers.
Due to its nature, the UK asylum process is difficult for all asylum seekers and causes anxieties, uncertainty  and helplessness, but because of the  support to access training, volunteering and just to simply be invited for a meal or a day out was like a rebirth, I mattered.. I became human again!.
It is something I still see daily with newly arrived asylum seekers in my role as an Integration officer for Swansea City of Sanctuary.