International Volunteer Day 2021

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Words by Bianca Asanache

 

Volunteer now for our common future

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

— Audrey Hepburn

As a volunteer-run organisation, on the International Volunteer Day, we want to celebrate the people who offer their skills, time and passion to help others. All of us are special and unique in our own way and at PMW we use what we’re good at to make a difference. 

We are a group of people who believe that every woman, migrant or not, deserves to find a fulfilling and meaningful career. It is the act of giving and paying it forward that we find rewarding. 

 

It is satisfying to be part of a community and working as a volunteer is a great way to connect with people. In fact, for professional migrant women who don’t have local experience or lack a professional network in Australia, volunteering is the best way to connect with people in their industry, build a strong professional network and get a foot in the door. If done strategically, you can volunteer your way into a career.  

 

During a pandemic, volunteering can mean saving lives, making a difference, and offering hope to those who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet. In the past two years, many people who were left behind by the government relied on non-for-profit and volunteer services. Volunteers were the ones doing the heavy lifting lending a hand to international students, refugees, temporary visa holders, and many others. Many have supported the COVID response by providing emergency food relief or offering counselling. 

 

Volunteering is great for developing leadership skills and becoming more self-reliant. You will grow leadership qualities as you take the lead and coordinate with others to achieve a goal. You will also learn how to motivate and influence people to volunteer for you. 

Self-reliance is a major quality of those who are living on the path to success. When you make life about giving and not just taking, you will feel empowered and proud of yourself. 

 

When you volunteer, you change your perception of the world, your views and become more empathetic. Volunteering can take you around the world as you learn more about others and realise that you’re learning more about yourself too. It’s character-building because when you get out of your comfort zone you have to cope with change and challenges – culture shock, no familiar comforts and emotional goodbyes. 

 

That’s why it’s also important to set some boundaries. They can be both professional and personal and are essential for adhering to certain legal principles (e.g. privacy and confidentiality), for maintaining workplace culture, and for your own self-care.

 

So dear PMW volunteers, this is to you too. Thank you so much for the immeasurably valuable work you have done through the years. Your dedication is essential to the work that we do. We cannot do it without you. You bring ideas, positive energy and a beautiful intensity. We’re deeply grateful to have you!