SVI volunteer Ravinder tells us why she volunteers with SVI and what it means for her.
I decided to reach out to SVI because I wanted to be involved in activities to support visually impaired and blind people. I wanted to learn new skills as well as strategies and effective ways to help them.
I have gained so much knowledge and awareness through meeting and spending time with SVI members. I’ve listened to their experiences and taken part in many different activities.
Members have informed me about appropriate language to use around them. For example, not just saying ‘go over there’ but directing them and telling them where the place is, such as on their right or left. Also, if I am assisting them as a sighted guide, to let them know that there are stairs going down or up instead of just saying ‘there are some stairs’. I have also found out about different ways to support people. I’ve listened to their needs around when and how they prefer to be guided. I’ve found out that everyone has different preferences and one way does not fit all.
I really enjoy learning something new and having different experiences at every session. It’s very satisfying feeling as if I am of some help and can support members who are part of SVI. It’s great being involved in all the different activities run by SVI, such as the gym, walks in the park, line dancing, the women’s meetings that provide advice for members and tea and toast mornings where everyone can socialise and be part of a group.
Helping my career
I would like to apply everything I’ve learned to a career in this field, where I can support people with different needs and the community. It has also given me new knowledge which I will use to enhance my practice and communication skills when working with young people with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) or visually impaired and blind members of the community.
Thank you to SVI members
I would like to say a huge thank you to all the SVI members I have been able to spend time with at SVI, who have not only spoken to me about their experiences and provided me with a vast amount of knowledge but also always made my time volunteering at events such as the gym sessions very enjoyable.
Thank you from SVI
And a huge thank you to Ravinder, and all our wonderful volunteers, for all they do for SVI. We really couldn’t do it without you.