We have the privilege of working with some amazing refugees and asylum seekers through our b.friend project. We often hear about ways in which b.friend partnerships are impacting both the volunteers and the people they are supporting, and from time to time we hear of moments when our volunteers have really gone the extra mile to help make people feel welcome and cared for.
One of these moments came along earlier this summer involving a partnership between Cathy and Yasmin (not her real name). Yasmin and her husband arrived in the UK a couple of years ago from Pakistan and were immediately detained. Yasmin was carrying their first child and found the experiences of detention deeply traumatic. Once released the family were accommodated in Bristol in a damp, dingy basement flat and the couple’s baby was born. Yasmin suffered from terrible depression and agoraphobia and was unable to leave the flat except for medical appointments.
Cathy was introduced to Yasmin and her family and each week she sat with Yasmin and played with the baby while they talked. Over time, Yasmin learnt to trust Cathy, and Cathy began to talk about Bristol and the different places that the family might like to visit when Yasmin felt up to it.
One day in the summer we received a wonderful surprise. Cathy had taken the family all the way to Clevedon and sent us a photo of Yasmin and her little girl eating ice creams by the seaside. It was a beautiful image, reminding us that simple acts of kindness can help to bring a little bit of happiness to the lives of people who are facing such difficult circumstances.
To Cathy and all of our wonderful volunteers who go the extra mile - thank you.