In August 2019, we spent four weeks volunteering with The Feast as part of our adult nursing elective placement. We all decided to volunteer with The Feast for similar reasons, the first being Jill’s visit to our elective event at the university. Jill explained the ethos of the charity and its goal to bring together young people from different faiths and cultures to build good relationships. As a group of ethnic minority student nurses, we felt that the work the charity does is valuable and the skills we would acquire would be transferrable to our nursing careers. With Birmingham being a diverse city we encounter people of different faiths and cultures daily both within our professional and personal lives, having good relationships with people of different faiths to ourselves is fundamental, especially when providing care for them.
During our time at The Feast we worked alongside other volunteers to plan youth encounters, take part in faith discussions and activities and organise a fundraising event. Our first week involved planning and preparing for the ‘10 days of Summer’ which included creating healthy meal plans, formulating risk assessments, and generating topics for discussion for each event. We became familiar with the Guidelines of Dialogue and how to apply them in our discussions and learned how they can be applied to everyday life. The ‘10 days of Summer’ occupied the following two weeks, where we cooked lunches, participated in activities and discussions and led some encounters ourselves. On the 10th day we organised a visit to Stratford-Upon-Avon for the young people, where we visited the Butterfly Farm and explored the town’s historical sites. We also decided a Community Eid Party would be beneficial for our young people to promote the integration of The Feast with the local community. So, we planned a day filled with food, fun and games for all to enjoy. Since the 10 days proved extremely successful, we organised two further encounters in our final week. We spent the remainder of the week planning our fundraiser, and helped the staff at The Feast settle in to their new Birmingham office.
Over the last four weeks, The Feast has helped us to deepen our knowledge of different faiths and cultures, improved our organisational and interpersonal skills and given us an opportunity to work in a field we are not usually exposed to. We will continue to implement the Guidelines of Dialogue in clinical practice and our individual lives. Thank you to everyone at The Feast for making us feel so welcome, we hope to see you soon!
~ Tanjina Begum, Nishat Ahmed, Tahira Begum, Iqra Sohail and Maryam Mahboob.