I was a second year social work student when I was lucky enough to get a placement at the Refugee Council. It involved working with refugee children who have been separated from their families.
The Refugee Council staff and volunteers are fantastic – I learnt loads. I shadowed some colleagues, went on visits and learnt a lot about the asylum system. Sometimes I felt inadequate because lots of the staff and volunteers speak three, four or five languages!
The first case I took on myself was an unaccompanied young person who had suffered terrible abuse and loss. I attended the solicitor’s appointments; it was harrowing to hear their story. The interview was extremely tough. Now, the young person is with a wonderful foster family and they have a fantastic relationship. That was lovely to see.
I have no idea what these children would do if the Refugee Council didn’t exist. It’s so vital. Children can come to the Refugee Council to meet friends, learn English and get specialised advice. It’s a place they feel safe and cared for. Sometimes they just pop in to say hello because they know there will be someone here to listen to them. Without the Refugee Council they would be totally alone.
I am now a fully qualified social worker and am using the knowledge and skills gained from the Refugee Council in my every day work.
It is a place that will always be dear to my heart.