Blog by Alexa Anderson (One of Amnesty's brilliant volunteers at last years Edinburgh Festival)
Volunteering can sometimes be a risky experience; you never quite know what to expect, how well things are going to be structured and organised, the type of people you are going to meet and what the overall experience is going to be like. So when you come away from your volunteering with a fresh sense of purpose and satisfaction you know that it was worth it!
I first volunteered at 16 as part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award; progressing to living abroad in Mexico during my Gap Year which resulted in discovering a love for volunteering and the diverse and stimulating voluntary experiences I have had since. Having volunteered and lived in Mexico, Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa, I have recently focused on volunteering in different roles within the Charity Sector in Edinburgh with grassroots as well as larger charities.
I became a member of Amnesty International a number of years ago and was excited at the prospect of volunteering during Edinburgh’s International Festival last summer. After enquiring about how I could become involved, I was very impressed at the speed that I received a response and the level of information I was provided with.
Attending the briefing in July I learnt what to expect during the festival, what roles I could take part in, how the volunteering was structured as well as the particular focus of what current campaigns were taking place. I couldn’t have been more impressed with how competent and professional Siobhan and Griff were at providing us with relevant information as well as how comfortable and welcoming the environment felt. Everyone was given an opportunity to voice any particular skills/experience they had as well as what type of volunteering they may be most interested in doing.
Due to work commitments, I was unable to commit to the street campaigning. So I was allocated to the Book Festival and the Comedians vs Critics Football match. Being involved in both of these events was extremely enjoyable and interesting.
I would recommend volunteering with Amnesty International to anyone. The key aspect of my experience as a volunteer was feeling extremely valued as well as participating in something worthwhile, relevant and motivating, meeting lots of new people, utilizing my skills and knowledge which all resulted in a strong sense of achievement. Oh, and most importantly of all-it was fun!
Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.