New mentoring scheme for refugees launched in Scotland

Location: Scotland

8th Aug 2018
Challenging mental health inequalities

A new mentoring project for refugees, which was recently launched in Scotland, is calling for volunteer mentors to get involved.

Sawti, which means ‘My Voice’ in Arabic, is a three-stage project which aims to engage refugees in well-being activities, develop the skills of refugee individuals to advocate for themselves and their communities, and raise public awareness of the importance of refugee mental health and wellbeing.

It provides opportunities for refugee women, men, and young people to take leadership roles in supporting and representing their own communities and networks, with the aim of ensuring that refugees have a strong voice and that their mental health and emotional well-being are understood and supported.

To ensure a lasting impact, the new mentoring scheme, which marks stage two in the Sawti project, incorporates a 'community capacity' element. This will provide skills to refugee individuals and opportunities for them to explore how they can use their life experience to benefit their own well-being and that of others. The ultimate aim of the scheme is to allow learning to take place between refugees and professionals, and MHF Scotland is currently calling for eight professional volunteers who would be willing to become a mentor to come forward.

Amal Azzudin, Equality and Human Rights Officer with MHF Scotland, explains:

“Many refugees were professionals back in their home countries. One of the main reasons asylum seekers and refugees experience stress, and poor mental health is due to not being allowed to work or due to experiencing difficulties in finding a job.

“We are looking for eight professional volunteers to share their own specialised skills in a reciprocal mentoring scheme, where they are matched with a refugee participant who will also share their learning and life skills. This is a great opportunity to make a positive difference to the mentee’s life and to learn about their journey and aspirations.”

Volunteer mentors should have the following:

  • Recognised expertise in their field
  • The ability to pose and ask reflective questions
  • An interest and willingness to better understand other cultures and life experiences
  • The ability to engage in a project for a minimum of six months and meet with a mentee for approx. two hours per month (to be agreed with the mentee)

Before being matched, all mentors will have the opportunity to meet the team and find out more about the project. If you or anyone you know would be interested in participating, please contact [email protected] .

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