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Nadia talks about her volunteering with Plaid Cymru as well as her volunteering position at a local Bangladeshi school, as well as other activities in Riverside. Recorded at the Riverside Festival, 20 August 2016.


The Chronicle Project is a community heritage project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and run by VCS Cymru with the aims to document the history of volunteering in Cardiff, from 1914 to 2014.

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NI = Nadiya Islam, LT = Lara Taffer (interviewer)

NI: My name is Nadiya Islam. I am 15. I’m turning 16 next month. I’ve been living in Cardiff for just about 16 years, so my whole life, Riverside especially. I go to St. Cyrus High School in Penarth. I’m in year 10, I’ll go into year 11 soon, starting my GCSEs. My interests are more like in science, history, French. I don’t like sport, which is kind of obvious. I don’t like fruit. And I am slightly awkward.
LT: Can you tell me a little bit about your volunteering experience?

[How she got into volunteering - 0:50 to 1:45]
NI: So, my mum kind of put me into volunteering, we’ve always been one to always be part of the community in any kind of way, so I tend to volunteer for things like – there’s one particular group, it’s called Bangladeshi Academy UK and it’s like a small school that teach Bangladeshis and what I do is – ‘cus I’m to a point where I can’t actually be in the school, I’m quite old now, I volunteer by teaching, if there are groups we help them perform with their dance recitals, and other than that there’s with the party - Plaid Cymru. I volunteer with them. I actually just did work experience with them in the Welsh Assembly so I’ve been working around with them. I go around canvassing and campaigns, this is all like to my choice, I am asked to help it's not usually forced.
LT: Can I ask you what motivates you to – why do you feel compassionate about volunteering?

[Why Nadiya enjoys volunteering - 1:49 to 2:03]
NI: It’s nice that feeling – after helping – it’s quite nice. And also especially during summer holidays there’s nothing else to do really. So it’s time consuming as well. That’s why.
Interviewer: Do you think that what you do in your volunteer work has a good impact for the community?

[Impact of volunteering in the community - 2:10 to 2:49]
Nadia: Yes, definitely, I think in a way you especially if you are living here for quite long, a lot of people know you, so friends, families, neighbours and such. So, when you volunteer your neighbourhood knows who you are, and so they are not, in a way, uncomfortable. They say, ok I know who she is, I’m ok with this, we are both working together to get that impact. In a way it’s not a one-sided job and that’s why volunteering kind of helps in a way. And also when you know that someone in your neighbourhood is going to help you it’s nice just to get that feedback.
LT: Why is having a tight-knit community and volunteering is a good thing?

[Volunteering and the community - 2:55 to 3:09]
NI: It’s a good thing because things get done. When you know that person, I think, it’s that you feel safer, and it’s not as hostile as you think it would be.
LT: What are some achievements that your volunteer projects have done? First tell me about the Bangladeshi Academy – what kind of events have you put on?

[Volunteer achievements - 3:20 to 4:13]
NI: So, we’ve done – if you – every year Cardiff Bay has like a festival – we call it like a Mela [Cardiff Multicultural Mela] and Bangladeshi Academy they get the girls to perform on stage. Now, there’s a lot of help, you’ve got to get ready, you’ve got to make sure everyone’s here, sometimes there’s transport issues you can help with that. There’s also help with the funding. So when that it also makes a big difference.
The little girls, I’ve known. They’re like my sister’s friends, so with that, that helps as well because then they’re not uncomfortable. It’s just – I think - with me helping there I find it easier to get around and it’s also just nice at the end of the day.
LT: Can you tell me about the achievements with Plaid Cymru?
NI: With Plaid – Plaid Cymru is a – the second most popular party in Wales right now. I’ve been connected with them since I think I was seven. This is because my mum and dad so I kind of grew up with what was happening and such, and with the elections coming through and it’s a bit weird to like stand on the side. So as I got older, I decided to get involved with them. I would go around with my dad and my mum, again with [undecipherable].
[Cut due to background noise]
NI: Bangladeshi Academy is a school. They teach the language Bangla. The kinds do dancing and singing. Dancing is one of the most popular ones. Now that I volunteer, I used to be part of the group, and I volunteer to help, getting them ready, getting them dressed. At practices, I help them with their - practicing singing and stuff like that - and at performances, I’m prepared to support them and make sure they’re ready to go – if they’re ready or not, how to get there, transport issues and such. And for support to be there. So, I’ve been with them quite a long time, so we know each other and the little girls and the new people that come on and it’s more welcome, they know they’ve got a role model for them.
LT: How do you think – do you consider being part of politics a form of volunteering, and why? Why is that considered volunteering?

[Volunteering and politics - 6:05 to 6:35]
NI: Volunteering – it’s a messy little thing I would say. But again, because I grew up with it, I can’t – it’s just either loving it or hating it. The reason why I choose to volunteer, I think, it’s because I like helping, and I know that Plaid makes differences, and I like being a part of that.
LT: And last question - what do you think volunteering overall contributes to society, maybe not just in Cardiff but as a whole?

[Volunteer contributions to society - 6:47 to 7:15]
NI: At the end of the day, a lot of people don’t realize that volunteering is just help. Sometimes it’s probably because they don’t get paid, you know money, at the end of the day you’re getting help. Yeah, getting help at the end of the day. It’s important just to know that volunteering can get a lot of things done. That’s why.

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