The National Volunteering Strategy 2021-2025 (DRCD, 2020) calls for greater diversity within volunteering and for the inclusion of displaced people. Our own survey earlier this year shows that 92% of volunteer-involving organisations in Dublin would like to involve more people from a refugee, migrant or displaced persons background.
We know, however, that there are barriers that could particularly affect displaced people, and prevent them from volunteering.
Travel costs: Displaced people often rely on public transport and, in many cases, have extremely restricted income. It’s best practice to always offer your volunteers expenses – volunteering shouldn’t cost someone money! But it’s particularly important to recognise that without receiving reimbursement for travel costs, some displaced people may not be able to volunteer at all.
Language: Many displaced people speak excellent English, but for most English is not their first language. Even for native English speakers complex application forms and detailed lists of requirements can be confusing and off-putting. Try to make your roles as accessible as possible by making sure that you communicate in simple English whenever possible. There are many online resources to help you to simplify text – try using Simplish or ask ChatGPT ‘rewrite this text in simple English’.