Gabriela Mitas - Community Activity Organiser for BME and Faith Communities
Dementia Friendly Communities Project (Alzheimer Scotland)
"Always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that lies within you" (1 Peter 3:15)
Hi my name is Gabriela Mitas (Gabi) and I work for Alzheimer Scotland as a Community Activity Organiser working within the Dementia Friendly Community Project. My role is working with BME and Faith Communities. I commenced my role in May 2014. I am originally from Poland moving to Scotland in 2007 with my family. I am married to Paul and we have three sons, and we now live in Bellshill North Lanarkshire.
When I arrived in Scotland I was keen to use my experience and skills in volunteering. I had the opportunity to work in Citizen's Advice Bureau and with the Polish Community. I chose to volunteer within schools and churches, organising events and translating documents within those particular settings.
In Poland I supported my mother to care for my father who was diagnosed with Parkinson's and Dementia. I was keen to learn more about this condition and how I can use my personal experience to support those who live within the Polish Community in Scotland.
When I applied to Alzheimer Scotland I felt that this would allow me to use all my skills in terms of language barriers, empathy and understanding about the differences in some cultures.
I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to work with different cultures as well as working with faith communities. My aims are to understand the barriers which BME communities may face in relation to getting the support networks to understand their needs. I hope that our diverse community in North Lanarkshire will be able to recognise the opportunity to work with Alzheimer Scotland.
From my experience I understand that within Faith Communities there is a need to create a comfortable environment for people with Dementia, which will allow them to continue to practice their Faith. Working with Faith Communities my aim is to educate and support those who wish to understand more about the condition and within these communities create a Dementia Friendly environment.