Choos­ing to help ben­e­fits the south

The Invercargill Eye - - FRONT PAGE - JOANNA GRIF­FITHS For video go to neigh­bourly.co.nz

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.’’

PHOTO:ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ 632544330

Stay home mum Ra­mari Paul, 31 vol­un­teers with South Alive in the arts team.

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