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Volunteer Spotlight - April 2024 - Misbah

Misbah is a Community Champion, Events Volunteer, and Speaker Volunteer from London.

Starting out as a volunteer

Misbah moved to the UK when she was very young. Whenever she went home to visit her family, she noticed her mum often rushed to eat, but didn’t know why. She now realises that her mum had diabetes, a condition that Misbah knew nothing about.

When she became pregnant with her first child, Misbah developed gestational diabetes. But she was told to go on a diet and not given any information, so she still didn’t know anything about any type of diabetes.

In 2015 Misbah retired from full-time work and decided to volunteer for Diabetes UK. She had two reasons for wanting to do this: to gain knowledge about diabetes, and to help other people. When she did the volunteer training, Misbah says she realised there are different types of diabetes. She also learned such a lot that she wanted to pass on to other people, both those who have diabetes and others who have little or no knowledge of it.

Different roles

Misbah has done many things as a volunteer, from the Know Your Risk roadshows, assessing people’s risk of developing type 2, to information roadshows in different places all over London. She also volunteered at the London Bridges Walk a few years ago, which she says she enjoyed very much.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteering changed as there were no face-to-face events during the lockdowns. But Misbah says she didn’t feel cut off because she met volunteers from all over the UK online, and they shared their knowledge and experiences that way.

Now that face-to-face events have started again, Misbah doesn’t travel as much as she did before, and she has other commitments that keep her busy, but she volunteers as much as she can. She also volunteers with Healthwatch, and has visited care homes, dentist surgeries, and GP practices, to share information.


Misbah says one of the highlights of volunteering for her is talking to people and giving them advice. She says she often starts conversations with the people she meets by asking “Do you know what diabetes is?” As diabetes can affect all the organs in a person’s body, Misbah feels it’s important to help people understand the condition and learn how they can live well if they have it.

"Some people are scared when they’re diagnosed with diabetes and think it’s life-threatening."

But Misbah’s friendly, welcoming attitude helps people relax and feel comfortable talking to her. And often people who do already know about, or live with, diabetes appreciate the information she shares with them – particularly the recipes!

Meeting other people

As well as meeting members of the public, Misbah says she really enjoys meeting volunteers from other charities and organisations. At a roadshow event recently, she met people from the Alzheimer’s Society and says it was useful and interesting sharing knowledge and information with them. She also met someone who works at a local Care Home, who asked Misbah to take along some information for the staff and residents.

Through volunteering, Misbah says she’s learned a lot about healthy eating and how important it is to keep moving to live well with diabetes. But she knows she still has a lot to learn and is looking forward to that.

Future plans

Looking to the future, Misbah wants to carry on doing what she has been doing, meeting and talking to people, as much as she can. She recently trained as a Speaker Volunteer and a Ramadan Speaker Volunteer and is hoping to use these new skills soon. And one thing she’d really like to do is hold a weekly ‘surgery’ somewhere, where people can come for information and advice about diabetes. She first started thinking about this before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns and is hoping she can start it now that face-to-face events have begun again.

Misbah’s message for anyone thinking about volunteering is “Do it - you can gain knowledge and help others, it works both ways.” She’s found Diabetes UK to be a great organisation to volunteer with, and everyone she’s met at the charity has been very helpful and friendly. She’d recommend volunteering, and says “If you can spare the time, it’s a good thing to do.”

If you’ve been inspired by Misbah’s story, check out our latest volunteering opportunities.

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