Comments, In Focus, Migrants, Multiculture

Caring for the emotional health of the diaspora

In 2016 Voces Amigas de Esperanza (Voades UK) started in the UK and its purpose was, and still is, to support the Spanish and Portuguese speaking immigrant community and foster their emotional health. ‘Meeting and listening’ are the key tools of their work.


They are an NGO of social action and cooperation for the development of the community whose beginnings date back to more than 50 years ago when it was founded in Seville under the name of Teléfono de la Esperanza (Telephone of Hope).

Years later, in 2016, Nancy Liscano and Ernesto Ortega, taking the initiative from Spain, decided to set up Voades UK, to support the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking immigrant community in the UK.

Their main objective is to create a welcoming environment to foster the emotional health of migrants and families in the community of social groups in all settings. To this end they offer ‘meeting and quality listening’ to all people as the best resource for help, collaborating extensively in international cooperation and using the great opportunities for help and exchange presented by new technologies.

Their activities include workshops, courses, emotional health weeks, conferences and cultural events that allow them to promote dialogue and emotional health.

In that sense, its support programme “Listening to Loneliness” provides support and allows people who live in isolation, who are in a state of loneliness or who are handicapped for any reason or circumstance to be heard.

This programme is carried out with the help of Voades volunteers, who are trained to take calls and listen to those in need of help.

They also hold meetings and recreational gatherings in groups where they share with other people. These are activities that they try to carry out outdoors.

On the other hand, they have an emergency service provided through the virtual telephone number 020 7733 0471, which allows them to receive calls from all over the world. They are currently interconnected with Portugal and Spain. Given the complexity of today’s problems, with more and more people requiring emotional support, Voades included a professional, face-to-face counselling service in its agenda, depending on the circumstances. During the Covid-19 pandemic, due to the circumstances, they offered their services to the community virtually. This virtual modality is still in place today.

We currently have professionals and volunteers who are: Nancy Liscano, Zurima Toloza, Doreen Francis, Tatiana Soraluz, Giovanna Quintero, Conchi Montejo, Carolina Camacho, Petronilla Yerson, Donna Maria, Carmen, Maria Belen, Josselyn, Evelyn, Nancy, Mauricio, Patricia, Jose, Rolando, Raul, Nancy, Richard and Rosario.

One of the most popular programmes is the self-awareness and personal growth workshop, which is held once a year on weekends.

Each workshop consists of two parts: an intensive 20-hour workshop, which is divided into 10 workshops where theoretical presentations, group work, awareness-raising exercises and in-depth sessions are held.

The other 10 are follow-up sessions.

Currently, the organisation is going through a difficult time as they lack their own space to carry out their activities, as they do not have the necessary economic resources to maintain a place for face-to-face attention. Nor do they have financial support from the government.

This situation is affecting their service to the community. However, thanks to the management and administration of Voades they are receiving donations, and thanks to the support of other organisations, they are able to have a loaned space that allows them to receive and continue offering their services to those who need help. In these circumstances they operate virtually and by telephone.

More information: Twitter and Voades.

(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: Photos: Pixabay

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