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Celebrating our Volunteers this Black History Month

With the theme of this year's #BlackHistoryMonth being 'Saluting Our Sisters,' we thought there was no better way to celebrate it than by highlighting two of our amazing volunteers, Benny and Olaseni.

We caught up with them at our Glasgow office to discuss why they got involved with Diabetes Scotland, the work they do as volunteers at local libraries, the connection between ethnicity and diabetes, and much more.


Benny is an optometrist by profession who is currently completing her Masters in Public Health at Glasgow Caledonian University.

She first became interested in volunteering for Diabetes Scotland because she is all too aware of the seriousness of diabetes, with the condition affecting her immediate family.

"I have lost people to diabetes as a result of mismanagement and low awareness. Coming to the UK, I found out that even with all the facilities and healthcare in place, there are still people who don't take diabetes seriously.

"Diabetes is resilient, so we need to be resilient too. I felt that there was an opportunity for me to create awareness and tell people what diabetes is about."

Benny is passionate about education. She believes it's vital not only for people living with diabetes to receive the right information about self-management but also for those who are most at risk to know the steps to take to prevent type 2 diabetes. One way she provides this information is by volunteering at Royston Library in Glasgow.

"I love volunteering because my first encounter was with a lady who was newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. When she came in, I could see she was not quite relaxed. She was so tense and overwhelmed with the health condition. While talking to her, I was able to break down the '9 processes of care for her.'

"In the end, she was so happy. She said to me, 'You have just saved my life because you made me understand what diabetes is all about and how to manage it.' By letting her know that diabetes can be managed and that she had a part to play in that management, the lady felt empowered and motivated going forward. This gave me great joy to hear."


Olaseni also studied Public Health at Glasgow Caledonian University and earned a Master's degree, with her dissertation centred around diabetes.

"I was particularly interested in diabetes remission, a relatively new subject. It fascinated me that diabetes could be put into a state of remission. I want to make a positive difference in people's lives, especially in terms of their health and well-being.

"My motivation comes from my mother's long-standing battle with diabetes and her use of lifestyle changes to manage the condition. I'm passionate about helping others do the same. My goal as a volunteer with Diabetes Scotland is to work towards a world where diabetes can do no harm."

Olaseni's volunteering for Diabetes Scotland takes place at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow.

"We're just starting out, and people are just getting to know us. I believe that with time, we'll be able to do much more. Our team has realized that sometimes we need to proactively reach out to people since they may not always come to us. Creating awareness and providing information to the public is crucial."

She also understands the importance of the link between diabetes and ethnicity:

"I've found through my research that type two diabetes constitutes about 90% of all diabetes cases. Race and ethnicity are indeed risk factors, including black ethnicity. It's crucial for communities to receive education and awareness about their increased risk.

"Creating awareness is the first step, and when people know their risk, they're more likely to take steps to reduce it. As someone from a black African background, I believe it's important for people to be aware of this."

We applaud the incredible contribution that Benny and Olaseni have made to Diabetes Scotland by being passionate and dedicated volunteers who provide valuable information to the wider community and contribute to their respective research and insights into diabetes through their studies.

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