Volunteering is one of the most rewarding things you can do and demonstrates the power of each individual to invoke human rights. Recognition of human rights is central to tackling inequality, exclusion and discrimination. After all, each of us can make a difference in our own small way, depending on our capacity.

As we approach Human Rights Day tomorrow December 10th, let’s consider how working with a team can enact change. It’s important to address the challenges facing the world, and this week is an opportune time to acknowledge the power of volunteers in the mission to improve the world.

Volunteering – get involved!

Volunteering is both challenging and rewarding. It’s challenging when you get to 11 pm and realise you haven’t done that thing you promised, and you simply can’t go to bed until you’ve done it! You have to keep your commitment even when you don’t feel like it because people are relying on you, and you can’t let the team down.

But conversely, it’s also incredibly rewarding because you know your actions are making a real difference in the lives of others.

In the case of The Freedom Hub, we have the most amazing volunteers who show up for our survivors to mentor, assist, support, socialise and help guide them as they step out of their comfort zone, embracing independence – and maybe fun – for the first time in a long time.

We have volunteers who advocate on behalf of our survivors, hosting fundraisers, clothing swaps, movie screenings, and trivia nights, all with the intention to raise much-needed funds which drive our Survivor School – and in 2022, we’ve reached the milestone of more than 100 survivors have benefited from this program.

There are legally skilled volunteers involved in The Freedom Hub who are constantly petitioning for grants to fund our school and other initiatives benefiting survivors, and PhD students who research and write content to share and bolster our grant applications.

And there are marketing-focused volunteers who use their savvy digital abilities to manage the website, update social media and expand the reach to share our message and mission.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in this case, it takes a passionately engaged community to shift the dial of change to improve the lives of others, one survivor at a time.

The commitment of our volunteers championing our cause drives results and empowers human rights in a way money can’t – it mobilises people power and passionate power at that.

Volunteering is part of our Australian national identity, with recent figures stating 6 million formal volunteers have donated millions of hours of time to the community annually. In addition to this, according to a recent report by Social Enterprise Australia, it has been discovered that social enterprises contribute over $20 billion to the economy and makes up over 1% of GDP.

It’s clear that now is the time to activate if you’ve been thinking about it for a while but haven’t taken that first step. You’ll be surrounded and embraced by a network of like-minded individuals who can’t wait to bring more into the fold.

Why I Volunteer

I have been a volunteer at the Freedom Hub for two years. I began by simply writing and sharing social media posts about events, ethical gifting and blogs – blogs in the past that other people were writing!

I work full-time, love my job, and am a single mum to two teens – so why do I do volunteer? How do I find the time?

Everyone has their challenges, but I feel so fortunate. Living in Australia I benefit from many things I often take for granted. The disruption of 2020 forced me to stop, take a breath and fully realise the disparity. I found myself searching for something I could do to give back, and The Freedom Hub found its way into my path. I’ve come to realise the small part we’re playing as volunteers help to contribute to the empowerment, education and inclusion of others while also restoring dignity and human rights, and it has been incredibly humbling.

The icing on the cake has been the relationships I’ve cultivated since becoming a volunteer. I love meeting with our tribe once a month at Convergence and hearing the latest news from The Survivor School. Joining with this group, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with like-minded people from all over Australia, all committed to this one goal. Just this evening, we celebrated Christmas together at The Freedom Hub venue, with the interstate team joining via video, celebrating our achievements and hinting at the work we want to develop next year.

I wholeheartedly recommend volunteering if you aren’t already – choose a cause you’re passionate about and commit a minimal amount of time to gradually integrate it into your lifestyle.  If you want to know more about volunteering with us at the Freedom Hub – ask here, and we will send you an info pack.