Rosilda’s Big Aberdeen Story
Rosilda started volunteering with GREC in 2013. The broad accents of the North East were somewhat daunting and Rosilda had challenging experiences before she started volunteering in the third sector. “When I first arrived in Aberdeen I took a bus from the City Centre to Torry to find accommodation – I had studied English for 5 years but I still had absolutely no idea what the bus driver was saying. I had the same challenge with many of the local people in Torry. But I had very nice neighbours who helped me and explained what I should say when I got on the bus (“two stops past the bridge!”).
Rosilda, originally from Brazil, came to Aberdeen with her husband who had secured research work with the University of Aberdeen. “I thought there may be some opportunities for me here, that it would be fairly easy to integrate and find work. I tried to find work – I was feeling isolated, my husband was working, my son was in school. It quickly became clear to me that job references from outside the UK were not valued as highly as they were from local employers. I took up a job in a school kitchen which gave me some more experience, but didn’t put my qualifications and skills to good use. I tried to go to College to improve my English so I could find better work – I ended up doing a Business Administration HNC and being encouraged to volunteer with a local organisation to put the new skills into practice. Someone recommended GREC to me and I soon started as a Volunteer Coordinator on a voluntary basis. It was great to have so many opportunities to meet people and organisations. As well as my English improving, I began to feel more confident, to feel connected with many people and cultures. As a result of volunteering and putting my English into practice, I felt confident enough to take forward my passion for arts and crafts, to take part in art fairs – this has allowed to get more involved Aberdeen communities, like schools. The opportunities I’ve been given helped me open up and embrace the change of living in a new country.
Rosilda is now an employee of GREC, providing maternity cover for the Co-ordinator of the In-Trans service (providing Interpreters and Translators across the North East. . Settling in Aberdeen and learning to embrace the dialect is an on-going journey. Rosilda says: “It maybe will never feel like “home”, but I am happy with the life I have made for myself here, and excited about the opportunities that the future holds.”
Aberdeen Issues from this story
- Aberdeen, despite the economic downturn, has much to offer. There are 80 different languages spoken as a first language by pupils in Aberdeen’s schools. Being anxious trying to speak a second language is familiar to anyone who has tried to order food on a foreign holiday. It can be a very intimidating experience. Have you thought about how isolating it must be for people for whom Doric is not their first language?
- The journeys that bring people to Aberdeen can be very complex, and often people do not arrive with the confidence they may require to settle and thrive in Scotland. Are there enough opportunities for people to develop and practice their English language skills in order to then be able to engage and participate fully in the community?
- Volunteering is a fantastic way for those who are not confident with their English to improve their skills and increase their self-esteem. Can you accommodate volunteers, apprentices, staff who are trying to improve their language skills and contribute to Aberdeen’s economy?
GREC are Rosilda’s STORYTELLER.
GREC’s mission is to advance equality for all people. To achieve this our objectives are:
- to tackle discrimination – pursuing equality for all
- to promote community cohesion – supporting strong and stable communities and promoting respect for diversity
- to manage diversity – working with partners; providing constructive challenge; and helping to address issues e.g. migration
- to collect evidence and undertake research – gathering information; informing services and policy
GREC’s current projects include:
- equality and diversity inputs to primary and secondary pupils, including promoting and organising the annual Anne Frank Awards;
- a casework service for those who have been the victims of hate crime or prejudice (on the basis of ethnicity/race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, transgender);
- a counselling service for victims of hate crime and prejudice, including a specialist service for children and young people;
- two research projects, one on the economic experience of ethnic minorities in the North East and the other looking at the fish processing industry in the North East;
- training on equality and diversity, hate crime and prejudice incidents, the Equality Act 2010 and more;
- an interpreting and translation service (In-Trans) used by NHS Grampian, other public bodies, individuals and private business;
GREC relies on the efforts and support of our many volunteers. We are committed to the positive involvement of volunteers and good practice in volunteering. GREC have achieved Volunteer Friendly accreditation – a national quality standard assessed locally by ACVO. GREC are also part of the Aberdeen Volunteer Co-ordinators Network and attend pertinent training related to the recruitment, retention and support of volunteers.
- Aberdeen Multicultural Centre offers advice, language school, mother tongue language school, climate challenge work
- Celebrate Aberdeen is once again planning a massive celebration of the diversity of Aberdeen’s community for August 2016
- Aberdeen for a Fairer World can help you, your business, your team, your school contribute to a world we would all like Aberdeen to be part of
- CEMVO Scotland aims to build the capacity and sustainability of the ethnic minority voluntary sector and its communities
- ACVO’s weekly e:bulletin has loads of jobs each week. You can find out about volunteering at http://acvo.org.uk/volunteering/ and we sometimes have vacancies for paid staff, volunteers or students on placement here in the ACVO team www.acvo.org.uk
- NESCOL North East Scotland College is the single largest provider of vocational education and training in the North East of Scotland. It offers a wide range of courses across a number of different subject areas , which includes ESOL courses.
- North East Scotland Equalities Network is a user-led Grampian wide network that brings people together to help achieve equality in race, faith & belief, sexual orientation, sex and gender reassignment, disability, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, and age through an interactive network membership of voluntary sector, public bodies, individuals, groups and organisations from across Grampian
- ESOL – English for Speakers of Other Languages courses are aimed at those who don’t speak English as their first language, but feel that studying English will be beneficial for living and working in the UK. These courses help to improve communication skills and build up confidence, allowing progress in educational, professional and social settings. The main aspects of the language studied are reading, writing, listening and speaking.
- Volunteer Scotland can help you to go about creating an inclusive Volunteering environment
- Football stars are against racism and you can Show Racism the Red Card with them at srtrc.org
- The national ethnic minorities led umbrella body for the voluntary sector is bemis.org.uk
- To find out about working in the Third Sector in Scotland http://jobs.thirdsector.co.uk/jobs/scotland/
- To find out about the Third Sector you would be working in http://www.scvo.org.uk/news-campaigns-and-policy/research/scvo-scottish-third-sector-statistics/
- To find out about working in the health sector within the Third Sector visit https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/about/working-health/where-will-you-work/third-sector
- Aberdeen Civic Forum is one of the main routes for community input into community planning and includes Aberdeen’s Ethnic Minority Forum.
- Ethnic minority housing issues can be directed to langstane-ha.co.uk/what-we-do/minority-ethnic-housing-project
- Aberdeen Guarantees aims to promote local opportunities which are available in the city and also engage local businesses in local youth employment activities to enhance young people’s experiences and develop young people’s employability skills.
- University of Aberdeen has a range of equality and diversity initiatives on its campus
- Information about bus journeys is available from First Bus, including the First Bus Community Programme and jobs.