‘Volunteering at Oxfam gives me satisfaction’

Youssef is originally from Syria. Last year, he was resettled with his family on the Isle of Bute through a UK Government run scheme. Youssef has been volunteering at the Oxfam shop in Rothesay for three months. His fellow volunteers – all of who are retired – have welcomed him with open arms and are currently furiously knitting in eager anticipation of the arrival of Youssef’s second child. Here, Youssef shares his story.

I arrived on the Isle of Bute nine months ago from Lebanon. Things in Syria had been really bad: I’d lost my father and brother in the war.

I began volunteering at the Oxfam shop after I went inside one day when I was out shopping to see if they needed any help. The ladies inside said that they did.

I’m very happy to be working with the women in the shop; I treat them as though they’re my mother.

I spend a lot of time steaming the clothes and pricing products. I also help carry the heavy things and put things on the shelves the other volunteers can’t reach.

At the moment I’m studying English and looking for a job. I’m a chef, so I’d like to work in a restaurant. I’m not shy about working: whenever I have free time I spend it helping in the shop. It helps fill my time.

I love volunteering at Oxfam. The shop has helped me gain an understanding of the daily life in Scotland and also improve my language. I know the money we raise is helping people around the world. It gives me satisfaction.

Could you spare a few hours of your time to volunteer in your nearest Oxfam shop? Find out how you can help here.