Volunteer training week
Jesuit Missions volunteers Peter Morrissey and Ellie Clark will be travelling to India and Tanzania this Autumn to teach for six months in a Jesuit school as part of our volunteer programme.
They have recently spent a week, along with an Assumption volunteer who will be travelling to the Philippines for one year, taking part in a pre-departure orientation training course at Milleret House in Kensington, where the Religious of the Assumption are based.
The week is designed to prepare volunteers for their time overseas. As well as preparing for the teaching aspect, it focuses on adapting to a new culture and also how to respond to situations which may arise while living in a community. “I found the case scenarios most useful as it brought up certain issues I never would have thought of.” Ellie explained.
The training included a session on safeguarding, which was run by Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ the new chaplain at Manchester university and Jo Norman Safeguarding Coordinator at Jesuits in Britain, a session on communications and how to tell your story run by Lucy Jardine who coordinates the CAFOD step into the Gap volunteer programme, a session on spiritual journaling, and how to look after your health whilst overseas.
Ellie, who will be going to teach in Tanzania, said “I’ve really enjoyed speaking to people who have lots of experiences and I’ve also really enjoyed how every session we’ve had has slotted into the bigger picture, everything now all makes sense. From a spiritual perspective, I really enjoyed the journaling because it has helped me understand how to process everything.”
One of the highlights of the week was an inter-faith day at Southall where volunteers visited St Anselm’s Catholic church, an Islamic mosque, a Sikh gurdwara and a Hindu temple. In each place of worship, they were met by someone from the community who was able to introduce their religion and show them around. They were also joined this day by Jon Dal Din who is the director of Westminster interfaith.
“The multi faith day helped me to observe, learn and see the value in other faiths, ‘There are many lamps but one light’,” described Peter. “I really enjoyed the opportunity to become part of the volunteer community, the programme brought us all together in a lovely spiritual way through prayer; and spending time together each day. The other volunteers, the coordinators and the speakers were all excellent; it seemed we all were able to share in the joy and excitement of Missionary work.”
Teresa, Volunteer Coordinator at Jesuit Missions, said, “The training was a great opportunity for volunteers to share their hopes and fears with one another. After spending a week living, learning and sharing together as a community, they all left feeling more confident and excited about volunteering abroad in the coming months.”