Every year, literally thousands of Jewish women will face violence against themselves and their children from within their own home. And there is just one organisation in the UK, indeed in the whole of Europe, dealing specifically with the needs of abused Jewish women. That organisation is Jewish Women’s Aid. The JVN spoke to volunteer co-ordinator, Selina Shaikh.
Tell us about JWA.
JWA works with Jewish women and children who are experiencing domestic abuse, one in four women will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime and the Jewish community is no different. We provide emotional and practical support to women in a number of different ways through our refuge, community support, counselling and the helpline.
How did you get involved with the organisation? How long have you been working there?
I have been working for JWA for around a year and half and thoroughly enjoy working for a charity that does such valuable and crucial work with women and children in the Jewish community. I became involved with JWA as I was looking for work in the domestic violence field and due to my past experience of working with the Jewish community, JWA was the perfect choice, so I applied for the role of Volunteer Co-ordinator.
How many volunteers are working with you?
JWA are lucky enough to have around 140 dedicated and passionate volunteers involved at the moment.
What volunteering opportunities does the JWA offer?
We have a number of different volunteer opportunities available to suit a people with many different skills and are always looking for new volunteers to get involved. Some of our roles are on the helpline, education work in schools, administration in the office, counsellors (qualified to diploma level), awareness raising and event organising.
Tell us about the best part of your day?
I enjoy my job immensely and love the fact that it is so varied and I am always busy! I love interacting with volunteers and meeting new people who become in involved in JWA.
What events have you got planned for 2011?
Our annual Volunteer Conference is taking place on Sunday 8th May in Manchester, which is our event for JWA volunteers. It’s a chance for us to say thank you and also a chance for volunteers to meet with fellow volunteers, as many of volunteers work all over the country particularly London, Leeds and Manchester.
Also, taking place in May is the JWA Lunch, which is our annual fundraiser, we are pleased to have Tanya Byron speaking at the lunch this year and are expected a great turnout!
How has JVN helped you work with volunteers?
I have learnt a lot though JVN and in particular the Volunteer Co-ordinator forums that take place a couple of times a year, it’s a great chance to meet and learn from other Volunteer Co-ordinators in the Jewish community. The topics and discussions are very interesting and relevant to the work that takes place in the Jewish voluntary sector. We also receive a lot of enquiries via JVN and many of our volunteers have come through JVN.