Volunteer stories – Volunteering with Hub Cymru Africa and Fair Trade Wales
Loeiza and I (Helene) are the long-term volunteers at the UNA Exchange office, based in Cardiff, this year (2019/2020). We have helped both Hub Cymru Africa and Fair Trade Wales a few times since the beginning of our project in September/October and it has been great!
The first big event we took part in was the First Ethical Christmas Market held in the Temple of Peace on November 29th. Journalists were to come and we were all very excited -it was going to be a fun day!
The day before the event, we helped setting up the beautiful Marble Hall. We brought chairs and tables and we put banners representing world countries’s flags. On the day, we first manned a welcome booth in the lobby, then Loeiza and I teamed up to interview both attendees and booth holders. The result is a cool video that Loeiza edited!
On Friday 27th of February 2020, we took part in another day-long event called “Meet the funders” and organized by Hub Cymru Africa.
The event offered “volunteers, trustees or staff who work on international development projects in Africa or internationally […] to meet with a variety of funders and to learn about their views on what a successful funding bid looks like”.
Loeiza and I as well as two other volunteers from the WCIA (Clara and Charlie) helped throughout the day. We successively welcomed people at the registration table in the lobby, encouraged people to leave feedback and offered them refreshments.
I asked some people why it was important for them to attend the event.
- Irina, teacher at Swansea University (digital technology) told me: “I have a few contacts in Africa. I have a few projects ideas on how can digital technology can help people in Africa and I wanted to explore some ideas for funding. It would be useful for developing relationships”.
- Elizabeth was looking for “information and donors” and her project is centered on farming systems, with the aim of improving people’s health in Africa.
- Ian told me: “My wife and I funded a project in Uganda on youth consultation to help young people start their own business. The average age in Uganda is 18 but there is no work. The ultimate goal is to build a training center. We were funding the project ourselves but we came here today to know where to apply and what’s the best way to register a charity. The panel was good and the lady from “How to make your bid stand out was good” too!”
Finally, towards the end of the day, Loeiza and I filmed and interviewed a couple of people. All four of us volunteers were also given some delicious fair trade chocolate!
It was really moving to hear about all these inspiring projects which will surely change lives, thousands of miles away from Wales. The event was successful, as both attendees and speakers (fundraising experts, grant managers…) told us that they enjoyed sharing their knowledge or discussing with and learning from experts.