Freedom of Religion or Belief Conference
19 / 12 / 22
20 / 07 / 20
Our showcases highlight the hard work and inspirations our staff have here at the Faith & Belief Forum. This week we meet Jaishree:
Your name and job title:
Jaishree, Programmes Officer, West Midlands
What made you initially interested in interfaith work?
I’d previously been in and worked in a lot of international and intercultural environments and the Faith and Belief Forum’s ethos felt very similar to intercultural projects I’d been involved with previously.
Why do you feel interfaith is still required in our world? What motivates you?
I think it can be very easy to live a life without encountering people with different world views from ourselves, at least in any meaningful way. I love seeing the empathy and understanding that can develop when people who might not usually meet are given an opportunity to interact and develop relationships with one another.
How did you first hear about F&BF?
Sadly I don’t have an impressive tale to tell, I found it on charityjob.co.uk!
How would you explain what you do to someone completely unfamiliar with our work, and what is your favourite aspect of your job?
I support people to develop skills to be able to interact and develop relationships with people who are different from them, whether that’s because of faith, belief or culture. I enjoy the variety of my role and the opportunity to get involved in and learn about different things. However, my favourite part of the role is the interpersonal aspect of getting to know and develop relationships with the participants of our programmes. It can be a lot of fun and I’m often very touched by some of the things that happen in the spaces that we create. Equally, my exposure to this work has also created shifts in my understanding and attitudes in the way that I relate to other people, so I’m as much a beneficiary of the F&BF approach as our participants!
What is the most common misconception about your job? And what is the truth?
I think people think that interfaith is about teaching religion or trying to convert people. Whilst part of my role is educational and does involve training and facilitating, interfaith is very different from religious studies. For me the essences of the work is about supporting people to develop skills and personal qualities that help them to understand and relate to people from different faiths, beliefs and cultures.
What didn’t you realise about interfaith until working at F&BF?
I hadn’t realised that there was space for people with non-religious beliefs, and I think that that surprises a lot of people.
What are you most proud of during your time here at F&BF?
I feel proud to work with a team of people who work with integrity and are committed to learning and evolving to meet the needs of the people that they work with.
What floats your boat outside of work?
Since lockdown I’ve been getting more and more green fingered, my next adventure is sweet potatoes! I love to go wild on the dancefloor and I’m always up for a bit of depth psychology & Jungian theory. And, there’s always part of me that’s bubbling away with wanderlust, I’ve never been to any of the Americas so that might have to be my next trip once lockdown is over…