Madeline Jewell is a student at Cardiff University and came to volunteer with us in February 2020. Read her story:
Why did you want to volunteer with us?
As part of my Geography and Planning course I chose a module that required volunteering or work experience as part of their studies. I knew that I wanted to contribute towards an organisation striving to make a positive difference in Cardiff and further afield.
After hearing about the work of Hub Cymru Africa and the opportunities they would provide for learning more about global issues and international development, I was keen to get involved.
What did you do?
I worked as an office volunteer, a valuable opportunity to develop my administration and organisation skills whilst also getting a taste of an office working environment. I was part of ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’ providing scope for stories to be shared about the people working hard to produce goods we often take for granted, such as coffee and chocolate. It was such a privilege to be a part of helping to prepare for the events as well as being able to enjoy and experience them on the day.
Alongside learning key skills that would be useful in the workplace, such as the logistics behind organising a work-related event, and how to effectively use spreadsheets, the experience challenged me to consider my consumption patterns and lifestyle. My placement ran throughout the Spring term, volunteering two mornings a week.
One event in particular, the ‘She Deserves’ Fairtrade: Women in Leadership was something that I invited my university housemates to come along to with me. They were deeply moved and inspired by the stories shared by women fighting inequality and holding key leadership roles in their local communities and, to their delight, were able to take home some delicious samples of Fairtrade products for themselves!
How has volunteering with Fair Trade Wales changed you?
The experience challenged me to consider my consumption patterns and lifestyle and I’m more conscious about the importance of making ethical choices. I’m more aware of the familiar Fair Trade symbol when out and about and now feel more informed about how I can make little changes each day within my own community.
Volunteering with Fair Trade Wales and Hub Cymru Africa more broadly, has given me real hope that working collectively to make a positive difference wherever we can really does end up making significant changes to people’s quality of life, both locally and globally.
What will you take away from this experience?
I have a fresh understanding of how we can make changes that truly make a difference to the lives of others. It was a privilege to be able to interact with a range of people, from Ministers of the Senedd, to schoolchildren attending a Fairtrade Conference, sharing with them the importance of Fairtrade. The experience has given me an insight into how we can collectively be working together to make changes that contribute towards a fairer world.
Did Maddy’s story inspire you? Hub Cymru Africa offer several opportunities to volunteer and gain excellent experience of working in international development. Check out their volunteering page to find out more and get in touch!