Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Social Work Honours


Faculty of Regional Professional Studies

First Advisor

Dyann Ross


This study uses a critical social and feminist framework to explore the effect of context on the experience of being a volunteer with refugees. It is presented in an auto/ethnographical style, blending my own storying with the stories of other volunteers. My interest in this topic evolved as a result of my own personal experiences in volunteering with refugees in which I perceived certain contextual aspects to have had an impact on my identity and volunteering experiences. This study is therefore an attempt to make sense of my own experiences and to share in the experiences of other volunteers. Informal information sharing sessions were held separately with four volunteers who had worked or were working in a voluntary capacity with refugees in the Perth metropolitan area. The information that emerged from these discussions is organised into stories of volunteers' experiences and common themes. The data gathered revealed that cultural, social and political tensions shape the context from which volunteers practice. As a result, the experiences of volunteering with refugees can incorporate oppressive relationships, societal prejudices and disempowering experiences. This was shown to have an impact on the identities and self-making practices of volunteers. The feminist focus of this study highlights the diverse and complex nature of the lived experience of volunteering. This approach also brings an awareness and acknowledgement to the diversity of knowledges and capabilities held by volunteers working with refugees.

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Social Work Commons