Volunteering with SB Espoir: Aizhan

Tell us a little about yourself?
 
My name is Aizhan. I was born and raised in Kazakhstan, a beautiful and enormous country in Central Asia. But it’s been 9 years since I moved abroad to study. Throughout these years abroad I met so many people of different backgrounds and this experience had a huge impact on forming my beliefs and visions. As a result of this experience I drew one main conclusion: no matter where we come from and despite our religious and cultural backgrounds we are all people in the end with the same problems, concerns, fears, dreams, needs etc.
 
Therefore, the activities of SB Overseas are very appealing to me. We work with young people from all around the world who have found themselves in a difficult situation. I believe our assistance is crucial because these teenagers are in the very beginning of their life journeys and the support of the community is especially important for them.
 
How did you hear about SB?
I learned about SB Overseas through a friend of my friend. He invited us to come to a presentation organised by the team in December 2016. So from the very first session at the NOH centre, I decided that I wanted to get engaged as much as possible in the activities run by the SB weekend team.
 
The youth at the NOH centre usually do not stay longer that 3 weeks. Therefore, most times we work with different children as they rotate non-stop. Last year there was a boy who stayed at NOH for almost 2 months. So I kind of got used to the idea that he was always there participating in activities. And once we came there to do activities and he was not there as he was transferred to another centre. So the whole team got worried about him because before we had also learned that he had a serious illness. But two weeks later we saw him at the Croix Rouge centre and a few months later, I saw him in Brussels city center. It was wonderful to see him integrating into a new community and I hope now he is safe and happy.
 
What do you find challenging?
 
The most challenging for me was time management. Sometimes it is quite difficult to find time on weekends for personal errands and volunteering at NOH.
 
Any advice for future volunteers?
Take more initiative! So any new suggestions regarding activities are always welcome. But also I thinks it is equally important to take initiative about raising awareness of the situation of the youth and about SB so the community can be better informed and educated.

Aizhan is a volunteer for our SB Espoir program which is a weekend program run with unaccompanied minors living in asylum centres in and around Brussels. Interested in getting involved? Click here

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