True Stories: Harkeet Sandhu – A helping hand!

When I finished high school, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. There wasn’t a specific job or career that stood out to me.

So I chose a degree that I found interesting and figured that everything else would fall into place. I did a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. I was fascinated by the human mind and how people interact. I thought that a psychology degree would offer me many skills and open up many doors for me. It did.Harkeet Sandhu

The first door the degree opened for me was the door to the rest of the world. After uni I went to South Africa to volunteer. I spent three months at Horizon Farm Trust doing a variety of things including conservation work, building and developing recreational activities for people at risk of being recruited into gang cultures such as people with mental health problems.

It was an exciting, rewarding adventure. And I wanted more of it.

I headed to Cambodia and volunteered for the Sao Sary Foundation, which helps stop child slavery and sex trafficking by offering education and skills to children so that they can support themselves and avoid falling victim to child trade. I taught children English, how to use a computer, worked on their communication and life skills.

A week before I was due to fly home to England, I decided to go to Australia instead. I thought that South East Asia was so close to Australia that it would be rude not to visit!

I settled in Queensland and worked as a temp in the volunteer department at Endeavour Foundation, a disability service provider. A Volunteer Engagement Coordinator role came up and I was invited to apply. I got the role and was there for over a year until I moved to Sydney and became the Volunteer Coordinator for Sylvanvale Foundation.

At Sylvanvale I recruit, train and support volunteers of all ages and find the best fit for them in one of Sylvanvale’s many service areas. What really appealed to me about working as a Volunteer Coordinator is that I found volunteering so rewarding that I wanted other people to experience it too.

Volunteering has given me so much. It’s given me amazing skills and made me a well-rounded person, and it’s given me the chance to work for a worthy cause. I never could’ve imagined that volunteering would lead to a career. But it did, and every day I am thankful for putting my hand up to volunteer.

Harkeet Sandhu

Volunteer Engagement Coordinator

Sylvanvale Foundation

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