Volunteer Interview: Liliane
Liliane has a master’s degree in business management and a background in HR. She grew up always wanting to help others; her dad grew up an orphan in Africa and would have had nothing without the help of the church and others. Inspired by his story, she wants to make society more balanced and hopes to work for a charity in the future.
What is your role at Citizens Advice Barnet
Reception and admin support.
Why do you volunteer at Citizens Advice Barnet?
It’s an opportunity to make use of my time while waiting for my immigration status to allow me to work. As an immigrant, I’m being supported, so I want to do something for the community. I came
from a place where there are a lot of challenges, a lot of difficulties for people and there’s no way to help them, whereas here we have Citizens Advice charities to help people. I’m pleased to be part of that. It’s a very nice experience to be able to learn and help people.
I didn’t expect to get the role because of my circumstances, but I’m really surprised and grateful to have this opportunity.
Is there anything you’ve done while volunteering with us that you’re particularly proud of?
We used to have a drop-in session but we don’t anymore, and sometimes [people] come to the door and we can’t see them. Sometimes they’re very desperate and upset and are crying on the phone. I always go above and beyond because I don’t want them to walk away empty handed. I understand them as I’ve been through challenges myself – I feel their pain. I can speak to them calmly and try to understand them and be kind. It’s a great feeling when I can advise them or explain things to them in a way that makes them feel more comfortable, or, if we can’t help them, tell them where they can get help. It’s very fulfilling.
UPDATE: Liliane’s immigration status now allows her to work. As a result, she no longer volunteers with Citizens Advice Barnet as she’s secured a job at another Citizens Advice charity. Congratulations, Liliane – they’re lucky to have you!
It’s a great feeling when I can advise them or explain things to them in a way that makes them feel more comfortable.