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News / Volunteering for F&BF – Deepa’s Journey

Volunteering for F&BF – Deepa’s Journey

Blog / Volunteering

Siobhán Anderson

12 / 08 / 20

Deepa has been involved in community work in Barking and Dagenham since 2013. When she discovered a local Faith & Belief Forum workshop that explored beliefs and personal stories, she felt it was a good time to join such training, explore her views in a new context and become a volunteer F&BF speaker.

 

Volunteer Training with the Faith & Belief Forum

A highlight of the volunteer training was seeing the connections that we all share – themes of family, love, connection to belief and ritual flowed throughout the lives of each participants and were brought to the surface in an interesting and authentic way through the workshop. Before the workshop I felt that my beliefs were quite individualistic but I connected with others on surprising elements of faith – for example the memories of someone watching their grandmother lighting candles during a Jain festival or when a Christian shared the warmth and power they gain from worshiping with their community. I also enjoyed through the curation and sharing of personal stories we could witness how our different beliefs have impacted the love people feel to others.

The process of the workshop created an environment of openness and sharing. I enjoyed that I could share my beliefs in a confident way to a group of non-judgemental people. We were encouraged to share with conviction and confidence what we stand for. It definitely helped me think about what I do and do not believe. The diversity of the group meant you have to talk out your differences but you could still accept yourself and others.

 

Volunteering in Schools

It has been a privilege to volunteer as a speaker in three workshops at schools in Barking and Dagenham and to express what Hinduism means to me. It is so nice to see children listening so attentively and experience the questioning and curiosity of young minds – the wondrous feeling in the eyes.

I know that schools teach RE in a theoretical way but it is so important for kids to meet a real person so they can grasp the differences that we all have. By speaking alongside someone of a different faith who is equally confident in themselves the children can learn how to witness and embrace each other. It gives them assurance that disagreements and difference is okay and permission to be themselves.

I have also enjoyed being able to volunteer locally, to have that community connection and grow in the sense that I belong here in the borough.

 

Taking my Experiences Elsewhere

After the training, I saw there was an arts competition for young people to celebrate Interfaith Week. I thought this would be a great opportunity to practice the journey of discovering who I am with my little one Vihan. Together we made a multimedia piece on who am I, what makes me special, how are we different. I also encouraged others in my community to talk to their children about their religion, practices and beliefs in a creative way. The training also gave me confidence to speak about what I think and believe within my community, although I was part of a text study group beforehand I feel I can articulate myself more fluently now and also I have a renewed confidence in doing so.

 

Find out more about the Faith & Belief Forum’s opportunities to volunteer in schools here.

Find out more about the Faith & Belief Forum’s work in local communities here.

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