Women’s Refuge

female-gender.pngMy lovely, lovely friend BumbleBee has recently answered an advert asking for volunteers to help at a Women’s Refuge centre.   From what I can gather, in order to be accepted as a volunteer for this kind of work, you have to sit through an interview and then attend five full day courses after which you’re asked to work for just three hours a week.  This is for the first six months and if you’ve managed to stick it out for those six months, more work will be offered. 

My friend had her interview last week and was surprised at the professional approach of the interviewers considering it was not actually a salaried position.  Three suited-types sat on the panel and threw many deep and complex questions at her.  Proper power interview!  But, thinking about it, it makes sense because volunteer work in this field involves very important and sensitive issues…with lots of confidential information.  The identities, details and whereabouts of  the women and children who are sheltered in these places must never be disclosed.  And the people who run the refuges need to be absolutely assured that the volunteers are fully trustworthy in order to keep these vulnerable people protected.  Under no circumstances are men ever allowed in these refuges.

There will be some harrowing stories regarding these women and their children and giving them support won’t be easy.   Already, BB has received comments from friends and family saying that they could never do such work because it would be too distressing, especially when it involves children.  Well, of course it would be upsetting.  But my friend BB is a placid and patient girl, quietly confident and totally non-judgemental.  I think she’ll be a tower of strength and support for these women and their kids.

And I also think it’s about time I got up from my safe and comfy warrior-armchair and got active.  I’m going to join her.  My friends say I shouldn’t.  They say I think too much…that I’m a worrier who will take baggage home with me.  But that’s a lame excuse to not get out and do something.   It’s like turning a blind eye.  If we were all of the…oh I could never do that….attitude, there would be no action.


5 responses to this post.

  1. Go Earthie! You’ll be perfect for the job x


  2. i think u should totally go ahead and join, earthpal. I’m sure it will be worth it…would love to do something like that myself…someday ! 🙂


  3. on volunteers and volunteer work, there are many many people who volunteer their time for the community including parents who run kindergartens and who sit on school councils. In my dealings with these people, as a volunteer myself, I have found mostly very professional attitudes and have always been amazed at the skill and expertise brought to these jobs voluntarily There is a lot of skill involved in managing a kinder or running a council and we don’t credit volunteers enough. Its like parenting – both of these important jobs are way underrated in our communities.

    Your description of the seriousness of your friends interview is a nice illustration of this point! Thanks earthpal.


  4. Thanks guys.

    Bindi, good points. I have been a part of the school PTA on and off since my kids started school and I recently helped out backstage at my daughter’s dance show. I was talking to some of the other mums who had volunteered to help and we all agreed that it’s quite amazing what a bunch of women can bring together. Even the lighter things in life – these activities need a certain level of professionalism to pull them off successfully.


  5. I join everybody else in “pushing” you. My first thought was about your children, but you have already cleared that out for me.

    Good luck.


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