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HFVC’s Volunteer Services Manager takes part in the International forum Volunteer of Russia 2015
Thanks to a generous invitation from the Vector of Friendship Union, who met the costs of my visit, I was able to participate in the International forum Volunteer of Russia in November 2015. The forum was held in Perm, a major administrative and industrial centre located two hours flight from Moscow in the Urals. Representatives from NGOs all over Russia, from St Petersburg to Vladivostok, came to attend the forum.

As a foreign expert I was assigned translators to interpret for me who were final year students at Perm University. They were very skilled and did a fabulous job of enabling me to understand what was going on, communicate with the Russian participants and ensure that my presentation was understood by them.

I gave a presentation to the forum on inclusive volunteering, drawing on HFVC’s experience of delivering our highly successful AIM project which placed young people with disabilities in volunteering opportunities. They were surprised to learn that we had placed young people with a wide range of disabilities including Down’s syndrome and that these young people had made significant contributions to the projects they were involved with.

The social innovation exhibition element of the forum provided a fantastic opportunity for organisations to learn from each other. For example, I learnt about a local organisation in Perm’s successful organisation of a Human Library, which has inspired me to attempt to do something similar in Hammersmith and Fulham.

I really value the international friendship myself and HFVC has developed with the Vector of Friendship Union, and the other participants from Russia and other countries. Volunteering has a great power to bring people together and break down barriers and the forum was a great celebration of these principles.

Vector of Friendship Union
Catherine Perez Phillips

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