Student volunteering week: ‘Volunteering is a really good way to get into the industry you want to work in’
Meet Greater Manchester Sight Loss Council (SLC) member Ada Eravama. We caught up with Ada to discuss the skills and positive experiences she’s gained from volunteering and why students should consider volunteering both as a stepping stone to a career and to boost confidence.
Ada Eravama was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome after moving to London from Nigeria when she was six years old. With supportive tutors, Ada thrived at secondary school and college and went to study performing arts at university.
In her last year of university, Ada started volunteering with Guide Dogs. She explained: I had to make sure the dogs were fed and watered. Some dogs had different food requirements due to health reasons such as allergies, so it’s important to remember which dogs need what. I also had the responsibility of making sure the dogs were quite and calm while out of training. I love dogs, so that was difficult, every time I saw them, I just wanted to play with them. I had to sit there and ignore them and if they started acting up, I had to sort that out. I really enjoyed that, learning to be authoritative. I also joined them in some of their training sessions.”
Inspired by her volunteering experiences at Guide Dogs, when she heard about the opportunity to join the Greater Manchester SLC, she signed up straight away.
Ada is passionate that visually impaired people have a positive experience in mainstream education and university just like she did.
Also, being a performance artist and quite sporty, Ada is interested in campaigning for more accessible sport and leisure provision for visually impaired people.
She has taken part in a podcast about e-scooter safety and discussed accessible shopping experiences in a podcast about Purple Tuesday.
Ada has also learned to be proactive and taken initiative when researching issues the SLC are campaigning on.
Volunteering and employment
Ada sees her future career in the arts and is also learning to make jewellery – a skill she hopes to turn into a small business.
Reflecting on her volunteering experience, Ada said she found it fun, interesting, and informative. Ada said:
“Volunteering is a really good way of getting into the industry you want to work in and getting experience.”
Ada also recommends volunteering in other sectors that aren’t necessarily related to your career.
“It’s good to have other interests and to be a rounded individual. Volunteering is also a good way to give back to the community.”
Want to take action like Ada and advocate for visually impaired people in your community? Learn more about becoming a Sight Loss Council member
Discover other volunteering opportunities and student stories on the Thomas Pocklington trust website.