Today marks the beginning of National Volunteer Week, which runs from 8-14 May 2017.
An annual celebration, National Volunteer Week honours the generous service of our volunteers around the country, for their commitment to support and assist others.
Coming from all walks of life, and performing many different roles, volunteers perform important work for communities, schools, charities and not-for-profit organisations.
This year continues the theme Give Happy, Live Happy, which explores the research that shows volunteers live happier and healthier lives.
Research shows that just a few hours of volunteer work makes a difference in people's happiness and mood. It's proven that volunteers are happier, healthier and even sleep better than those who don't volunteer.
OMI would like to thank all the volunteers from CaLD communities!
For more information about National Volunteer Week visit https://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/NVW/.
Maryam Khan has been the Coordinator of the Halal Food Bank-Perth (HFB-Perth) for the past five years, a food relief initiative run entirely by volunteers.
Her role sees her leading a team of 19 extraordinary people, whilst managing the operational and strategic components of the organisation to ensure that the project runs smoothly. Most of Maryam’s time at HFB-Perth is spent overseeing project activities, promoting the HFB-Perth brand, building relationships within the community, and ensuring team members are supported to fulfil their roles.
When asked what the best thing was about volunteering at HFB-Perth, Maryam said the people. She loves witnessing the generosity of the community and being reminded of the power of shared values.
“I love that this project gives me a chance to say ‘people over problems’. Every time.”
Maryam’s passion for working with the community at a grassroots level, currently sees her working on three projects that she believes will deliver immense value to the Perth community.
“I’ve always wanted to contribute to improving my world. I also felt completely disconnected with my full time work which created some frustrations. I didn’t see how I could truly flex my creativity in a rigid IT centric environment. Around the time I joined up I was also learning more about my faith and how important it is to actively participate in society to bring about positive change. I feel pretty lucky that this project found me.”
When she’s not dedicating her time to HFB-Perth, Maryam maintains a full-time job and enjoys yoga, writing, reading and art.
Medina Dizdarevic started volunteering with the marketing team at HFB-Perth in 2015, when she wanted to get involved in something that was actively working towards improving her community and bringing it together.
Apart from her full time job and her hobby of reading (and buying) books, Medina wanted to make use of her skills as a writer and videographer for something bigger than herself.
Besides helping the team out with their promotional projects, once a month Medina assists the HFB-Perth team pack food boxes to be delivered to local service agencies in need of food donations.
“I love being able to be creative for a great cause. I love the sense of fun, family and community that is present at every packing day and knowing that my time is being spent in a space which works to aid and counter the immense spread of negativity in our society.”
Kamran Ahmed has volunteered with HFB-Perth over the past year, whilst studying Nursing at the University of Notre Dame.
Originally offering up his time to be a packing day volunteer, Kamran soon moved onto becoming HFB-Perth’s Donations Area Manager, and more recently became the Donations Team Lead. His role involves managing the donations team, liaising with potential donors, collecting donations and packing food boxes.
Kamran enjoys giving back to the community and helping those that are less fortunate than him.
“HFB-Perth looked like a charity that was doing amazing work. At the time I wanted to help however I could, so I messaged them and asked if I could help out by attending a packing day.”
Apart from volunteering with HFB-Perth, Kamran also volunteers with other associations including St John Ambulance and Fiona Stanley Hospital.
When Kamran isn’t volunteering his time to the community, he enjoys playing sports including basketball, tennis and ultimate frisbee.
“HFB-Perth is such a fun yet professional environment. You can come as a volunteer and you are guaranteed to leave with some new friends and great experiences.”
Zainab Zaki has volunteered with HFB-Perth over the past four years. Initially volunteering with HFB-Perth while studying at The University of Western Australia, she set up a HFB-Perth collection point on campus, so that university students and people living in the vicinity could drop off their food donations. Her role involved promoting the collection point and raising awareness about HFB-Perth on campus.
Once she graduated, Zainab transitioned into being part of the core HFB-Perth team. Her current role involves looking after the administration of the project, volunteer management, and organising packing days on a monthly basis.
Initially Zainab started volunteering with HFB-Perth because she was looking to utilise her free time more purposefully. She always had an interest in community work and wanted to find a way to connect with the community and work for a good cause. She also believed that the project could provide her with a valuable learning experience.
Apart from working with HFB-Perth, Zainab works in Public Health for the not-for-profit sector, and has an interest in geometric art and calligraphy in her spare time.
“I feel like I have grown alongside the project, both personally and professionally. I'm constantly learning and the project is constantly giving me the capacity to improve my skills and knowledge on how to run a successful community-based project. There are so many things I love about volunteering with HFB-Perth but have to say, the best thing is the amazing team I work with. They are a group of extremely creative, hardworking and fun individuals and make it such a valuable experience. I also love the connections we've made with different communities in Perth and am constantly amazed by the generosity of the people of Perth.”
The Halal Food Bank is a national initiative and runs across Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
In Perth, the Halal Food Bank was first launched by the Muslim Youth WA group in 2012. The project attracts up to 30 volunteers each month who currently collect, pack and distribute 200 food boxes to nine service agencies. The core team is made up of 19 volunteers, and the service is available to any agency supporting people experiencing food insecurity.
For more information about HFB-Perth contact firstname.lastname@example.org.