Choosing to help benefits the south
A stay home mum with a passion for fashion and design, Ramari Paul always wanted to volunteer but didn’t think she had the skills.
Six months ago she decided to step outside of her comfort zone and join the South Alive arts team.
It was not an easy decision, Paul said.
‘‘I couldn’t help but notice the difference they were making and I wanted to be apart of that, but wasn’t sure how it would work.’’
Volunteering was a big part of her childhood, with both her parents dedicating most of their spare time to helping the community, she said.
Even a diagnosis of polycystic kidney disease in 2008 didn’t stop her mum from volunteering, she said.
‘‘She would visit others in the community who were in the beginning stages of renal failure to educate them on dialysis, have a cuppa and a chat.’’
‘‘Mum was a very caring person who was always doing for others.’’
She was there for people until the day she died in 2011, Paul said.
‘‘I talked to my husband for ages about [becoming a volunteer], I just didn’t know if I could juggle volunteering and family.’’
The final push to join came after seeing a photo in The Southland Times of the South Alive crew collecting rubbish during a community clean up, she said.
‘‘I literally walked into the office and just sat down, and that was that.’’
At first being a volunteer was hard to manage, but after a couple of months it wasn’t just easier it was exciting, she said.
From finding artists to exhibit in the gallery, helping organise community events and running her own sewing class, volunteering had lead to a multitude of opportunities, she said.
‘‘It doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, it feels like an achievement.’’
Stay home mum Ramari Paul, 31 volunteers with South Alive in the arts team.