The LSE Volunteer Centre has received some fantastic nominations for the LSE Volunteer of the Year Award 2022! Students have been nominated by charities, fellow LSE students and LSE members of staff. We’re incredibly proud to be home to so many committed, enthusiastic and passionate student volunteers. The award winners will be announced at our in-person LSE Volunteer Awards ceremony on Wednesday 4 May, and we’ll be tasked with the difficult decision of choosing them. To check more of the nominations check out Part 1 of this blog post.
When WONDER suddenly adjusted our ongoing work to support the arrival of Ukrainian refugees in Poland, Freya responded quickly and with initiative. By helping us condense previous research we had done on migrant integration in Ukraine, she facilitated the creation of a Polish translation of our work. This was essential to our partners in Poland, who are supporting over 500 refugee families. Freya’s work has enabled them to have a resource they can use when welcoming Ukrainian refugees.
Name: Greta Sanna
Course: MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology 2021
Voluntary Organisation: WONDER Foundation
Since 2021, Greta has volunteered as a communications and research volunteer with WONDER. She has conducted research on women’s health, education and overall development in Francophone Africa, and written articles and newsletters to share ongoing initiatives and help WONDER reach a wide audience of supporters. Most recently, Greta has taken the lead on the development of our new website for youth workers across Africa. Her dedication and commitment has enabled us to create a resource that will help women gain the resources and tools they need to organise youth groups, find funding for projects, and ultimately uplift and empower young women and girls in Africa. This is a tremendous, one of a kind effort.
Hannah has been an exceptional peer supporter this year, providing support to others in the scheme as well as the student body as a whole. She works hard at maintaining the community element of the peer support scheme. She has also stepped up willingly to assist the peer support co-ordinator in this year’s training, in facilitating reflective sessions, and in monitoring the wellbeing of others in the scheme.Hannah also supported the Students Talk About Loss group founded here by Arden Farrow, and was involved in the Consent-Ed training run by the SU. I believe Hannah embodies what it is to support others, and she will be sorely missed as she graduates and moves on from LSE. I wish her all the very best for the future and feel sure she will continue to support others as she moves into graduate life.
Name: Hannah-Lee Docherty
Voluntary Organisation: Literacy Pirates
Hannah always brings tons of enthusiasm and positivity to volunteering, getting stuck in to reading, writing and of course games! With our young people, Hannah is patient and engaging, ensuring they get the most out of sessions. She is a great addition to our volunteering team and has really made an impact on young people who are falling behind at school and have fewer opportunities. We salute you Hannah.
Josiah finished his summative assignment on the topic of UK immigration days early to go to the Poland-Ukraine border to help refugees match with UK sponsor families and apply for visas to come to the UK through the Homes for Ukraine scheme. During over a week-long time of being based on the border, he helped to improve the operational capacity of the team (by developing visa guidance documents and tools that helped improve the efficiency of volunteers’ workflows) Josiah’s spontaneous decision to go and support during this crisis situation greatly helped the team on the ground who were extremely short-handed, and he continues to work with them remotely and has recruited other LSE students to go and help on the frontline. As well as working 14 hour days to complete visa applications and other technical support work, he offered spent time with refugee families, ensuring their emotional and spiritual well-being during this time of uncertainty and distress.
Kajal is constantly trying to help other people within some many aspects of her life. She co-founded her own organisation – Justice 4 You – which campaigns for racial justice, and hosted a number of high-profile events over the last few months. She has played an active role in helping to decolonize the curriculum at LSE. Whenever I bump into Kajal on campus, she always seems to be going somewhere to help over people. Whether this be through a society, or organising a petition, Kajal plays a significant role in the activism-space at LSE.
Name: Kamran Iqbal
Course: BSc in Economics 2023
Voluntary Organisation: LSE ‘GIVE’ Soup Kitchens
He carries the soup kitchen project on his shoulders, standing outside every Sunday fortnight to hand out tickets to those in need of food. He has massively improved the reputation of LSE, from a university of elites to a university of the people, through the flawless execution of these kitchens, and the genuine connections made with those who need them. He directs these soup kitchens himself and has inspired so many people, such as my close friends Lateef and Thahmid to regularly get involved in these kitchens and cultivate a desire to help out the wider community.
Michelle has been the president of LSESU RAG this year and she has put in multiple hours each week to organise fundraisers on the LSE campus helping several charities (but mainly our two partner charities this year: Headway East London and Women for Women International) but also other societies to fundraise with bake sales or other initiatives. She was also a key person in setting up the Ukraine donation drive, the biggest (!) Giving Tuesday at LSE to this day and the unforgettable RAG BAND: the official freshers experience for LSE students which fundraised for our partner charities. Under Michelle’s leadership RAG has fundraised a crazy amount of more than 75000 since the beginning of September 2021 and have created some great events which contributed to the LSE student life. As the Head of Marketing and Communications at RAG this year, it was a pleasure to work together with Michelle and I truly believe that she deserves this award.
She volunteered to work at a refugee camp for 4 days at the border of Poland and help those who suffer from the war. She’s an inspiring person and it’s a great opportunity to recognise that she went the above and beyond her call of duty.
Name: Nihal Ahardane
Course: MSc in International Migration and Public Policy 2022
Voluntary Organisation: MEWSo
Nihal is a passionate, hard-working, and dedicated volunteer. She joined MEWSo as an English Workshop Administrator in October 2021. Our service users loved Nihal; she was very patient, non-judgemental, approachable, easy to work with and always happy to take the initiative in alignment with our policies and standards. Despite her studies and busy schedule, she went above and beyond her role by providing one-to-one support for four months to two Afghan women who joined the group and struggled with their English skills. Now, she’s also providing emotional and practical support as a befriender to one of our clients. As a result of her intervention, the women she worked with feel less isolated, more confident and have an improved mental wellbeing. I truly believe that Nihal deserves this award. We’re so lucky to have her as a volunteer; she adds value to our work and her skills, professionalism and morals set an example for other volunteers.
Name: Nivetha Sivakumar
Course: BSc in Economics 2023
Voluntary Organisation: ReachOut
Nivetha has been incredibly committed to volunteering with ReachOut. She has been volunteering with us for the last 2 years on a number of different projects, working with different young people. She has worked 1.1 with her mentees of the course of the project helping to make a long term impact and helping them to develop their character, confidence and academic skills. She has attended over 80% of sessions and has been an excellent role model for fellow mentors and all the mentees in the group.
Poorvika has been volunteering on our National Domestic Abuse Helpline (NDAH) since August 2021, and has made an incredible addition to the group of volunteers we have. Poorvika plays a pivotal role on the Helpline, by supporting clients who contact the helpline on our Live Chat platform. Survivors of gender based violence, and anyone who is supporting survivors, including professionals, or family and friends of survivors, will contact the Helpline to receive emotional support, as well as guidance and advice related to domestic abuse and the services available. Poorvika gives her time to our service and demonstrates a high level of empathy, compassion and passion for the support she gives. She has developed a high level of expertise in the dynamics of domestic abuse, the impact it has on clients and the barriers that can make it difficult for them to leave. Poorvika’s work on Being and Belonging included conducting a session on the meaning of public policy; summarising key local, regional, and national public policies for participants; and creating discussion questions to help with group analysis. Her hard work and dedication has been instrumental to the success of this project, and has helped us inspire over 100 youth to make their communities more inclusive.
Tanya volunteers by leading a youth-led non-profit organisation that focuses on providing young people with free resources, workshop and awareness around mental health. She is committed to volunteering for her local community as well, as she has been working with societies to raise money for her organisation and raise better mental health awareness on campus. She is a student volunteering ambassador and helped with planning the student volunteering week. She arranged an event with a disability focused charity called Sociability. She put together a mental health awareness week for the whole of LSE, with different organisations coming in and society events.
Name: Tegan Elliott
Course: MSc in Global Health Policy 2022
Voluntary Organisation: IPWSO
Tegan first volunteered with IPWSO through the summer intern scheme in 2020, she made a huge impact with the research she conducted for us and since then she has gone on to support the development of our Instagram account. Through Tegan’s knowledge of the platform she has created engaging content which has enabled us to reach more people who need access to our information and support. In addition she has helped us develop case studies who have shared their stories with us to raise awareness of the syndrome we work with around the world. Tegan has worked hard, especially around key awareness days such as Rare Disease Day to ensure that our profile looks professional, interesting and engaging. Our account now has well over 800 followers and our next milestone will be reaching 1,000 which we are sure we will achieve with Tegan’s help.
Name: Yujia Zhu
Course: BSc in International Relations 2024
Voluntary Organisation: The Access Project
“Yujia has been a phenomenal tutor for her tutee this year, delivering more than 11 hours of 1-1 tutoring since January. Yujia has gone above and beyond to provide engaging, inspiring and resourceful learning experience for a Year 11 student who was struggling with her maths, but who is now well on track to achieving a strong grade in this core subject thanks to the support and education that Yujia has provided. Considering that Yujia started volunteering with her tutee, after an initially unsuccessful pairing that meant her tutee was struggling to get the support she needed to make a success of maths in this key GCSE year – Yuja’s time, effort and commitment has been priceless in helping create a platform for her tutee to thrive and meet her academic potential.”