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08 May 2017


National Volunteer Week 2017 profile: Meet Zakia

Zakia Housaini likes volunteering with SSI because “I am doing everything with my heart”.

Zakia discovered SSI while studying homelessness and disability during her HSC community services course. When she told her teacher how much she enjoyed the course her teacher suggested she volunteer with a number of organisations.

She expressed interest in volunteering through the SSI website  and was very excited when SSI contacted her to say she had been selected.

“The very first day of my induction was a wonderful expression of SSI for me. It started from there,” Zakia said.

That was a year ago. She received many calls from volunteer coordinators and has been accepting them ever since.

Zakia started as a volunteer employment readiness assistant, supporting an SSI Employment Services  initiative helping recently arrived refugees prepare for the Australian workforce.

From there she moved on to many other roles within SSI.

“I’m kind of everywhere,” she said.

Now she is an administrator working with SSI Volunteer Program Coordinator Quan-Minh Chau.

A recent task was preparing certificates for inductions.

“Quany is a sweetheart and is always happy to see me. She always checks up on me to see how I’m doing. Everyone at SSI is fascinating,” Zakia said

“That’s one reason I have developed so much confidence — working with people in SSI.”

Zakia also enjoyed working with SSI’s Community Engagement  program.

“There were so many beautiful people from different backgrounds,” she said.

A highlight was her time working with Community Engagement Coordinator Marcela Hart on Walk Together Sydney, hosted by SSI and Welcome to Australia.

“That was the best experience of my life. We had to contact many organisations to invite them to the rally. That really built up my confidence,” Zakia said.

“Just talking to people about why we were there made me proud of what I was doing, standing up for people to be welcomed, to love one another, to be united.

“I met so many good people from within SSI and outside SSI. I built strong relationships that day.”

Zakia is studying primary teaching at university while studying for a Certificate IV in Community Services at TAFE.

And she works part-time as a youth advisor with Community Migrant Resource Centre in Parramatta.

But she still makes sure she has time to volunteer with SSI.

Zakia says she wants to continue her volunteering position because if she were to be paid for that work I would not be the same.

“I like volunteering because I am doing everything with my heart, not to get paid,” she said.

“I feel really ethical when I do that. I feel like I am doing the right thing. It sounds like a cliché but not everything is about money.

“When I developed an interest working with diverse people I gained a strong understanding of the real depth of people’s lives.

“As I interacted with each individual, I was fortunate enough to gain their trust so they would share their experiences with me. I felt privileged to sit and hear, and I felt I was doing something for these people that helped them out in their life.

“That made me feel that whatever I was doing I’m doing great. When I did something and saw the smile in their faces I felt I was on the right track while being in their service.

“And it’s fun.”

Zakia’s parents are proud that she is volunteering.

“I’ve been bragging about how good SSI is so my mum is interested in volunteering too,” she said.

“Every part of my participation within SSI has been amazing. I would love to eventually get a job with SSI. I would stay forever.

“It’s amazing.”

Want to make a difference in our efforts to support humanitarian entrants, refugees and people seeking asylum? Here at SSI volunteers work in a range of roles that will suit various interests, expertise and availabilities. Click the button below to find out more.

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