This is one of a series of six stories for International Volunteer Day (IVD) 2022. The theme for this IVD is solidarity though volunteering: Together, act now. On 5 December, throughout the world, the value of volunteers will be celebrated and recognized. While the world grapples with humanitarian and development challenges — amid wars and climate change, we need volunteers. We need people to work together for the common good.
Volunteering is not just about responding to an immediate crisis. It's also about making sure the affected population is well on its way, sustaining itself.
That's the story of the local volunteers from Melbourne, Brisbane, and everywhere else in Australia — who came in carloads to help the flood victims but half a year on, are still there — helping in whatever capacity they can.
From June to August 2022, heavy rainfall and flooding swept across New South Wales in eastern Australia. Six months later, many people are still highly impacted by the disaster, their homes and property destroyed, trying to rebuild their lives. These people don't want to leave their properties even though they cannot rely on insurance to restore their homes to their previous state.
From answering phones to receive donations to installing portable toilets in mobile homes, volunteers help people whose homes and lives were destroyed by the rushing waters.
Some are plumbers, who were ready to retire like 68-year old Gordon, or 28-year old Myles, who was on a vacation in the area when flooding hit.
"I helped somebody set up a Portaloo (portable toilet) in a hay shed, where they're living in two caravans," says Gordon while he installs plumbing for community members.
Local volunteers kept supporting communities in the harder, longer phase of reconstruction.
"It's more of a family now — that's what's helped me sort of just keep going," says Myles, who today is still far away from home, and continues to help community members rebuild.
A community rescues itself! Only because of volunteers — true heroes who say volunteering has — "brought everybody closer together."
Read the community volunteers' full story here.
Be inspired by volunteers to #TogetherActNow and lend a helping hand in solidarity with your community members. Together we can all do our part.