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Meriam

MeriumArriving in a new country and not knowing where or how you fit in can be a very daunting experience. This was very true to me 20 years ago. Being married to a Kiwi gave me a little advantage, but I still have to find ways to feel accepted and maintain my own identity.

As a mother, I started to volunteer when my eldest child started kindy. My involvement in the committee has enlightened me on how meetings are run, how to hold an event and how to fundraise. Taking part in decision making for the school was very fulfilling, as my children grew, I started to branch out to different community organizations. Close to my heart is the Philippine organization. Being involved with my cultural group has given my family an awareness on life of the people from my country. It gave my children an opportunity to learn my culture and to get to know the Filipino community. Being a wife to a coordinator of a voluntary organization Street Van , I support my husband by being one of the volunteers, going out late at night has given me an exposure to the life of people at night , struggles of people with addictions and also the homeless. Through the bread run ministry, I am able to help and meet different families, not only the New Zealander but the migrants and refugees settling in our city.

I started volunteering for Manawatu Multicultural Council in 1999; this has given me an opportunity to meet people from different cultures and backgrounds. Getting involved with MMC has not only widened my network but gave me an enriching knowledge on different cultures and backgrounds of other people and found new friends...Being part in the decision making for a community organization has helped boost my self esteem. It also gave me a chance to improve my skills on my chosen career.

In 2006, I was fortunate to be enrolled on one of the free courses offered to community leaders. Being one of the recipients of the program of Pacific Health Nutrition gave me the chance to improve my skills in my chosen career. This helped my confidence in enrolling for a related course at Massey. Although I haven'™t finished my studies, this opportunity has given me chance to initiate a cooking classes for migrants and refugees.

Looking back, I am so grateful that I was given a chance to volunteer not only because I met and found new friends but it helped enrich my understanding of people in our community.

If you are interested in volunteering your services contact our volunteer coordinator by sending an email to info@ecmpn.org.nz or phoning the Multicultural Centre on 358 1572.

Click here to meet Angela

honeypot@spinningplanet.co.nz