IRELAND: Refugee from Zimbabwe’s role as Wicklow volunteer lands him star turn in campaign video

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DUBLIN: A volunteer from the refugee community, who won an award in March for his work with Bray Tidy Towns, features in a new video to mark National Volunteering Week.

Vumani Moyo, who moved to Bray last year from Zimbabwe, said: “When I came here to Ireland, I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t have any relatives. I didn’t have any friends. I joined Bray Tidy Towns as a volunteer because I’m new in the place. I need to make friends. Luckily, people welcomed me and my family. Everything is going well. I’m feeling at home now,” Vumani said, joking, “I’m even gaining weight now.”

Volunteer Ireland released the video to promote National Volunteering Week (which runs from May 15-21).

The video also features volunteers from Ukraine and Somalia, who describe how volunteering has not only made a difference in their new communities around Ireland, but also to their own lives.

Run in partnership with Ireland’s network of Volunteer Centres, National Volunteering Week is a week-long celebration of volunteering that takes place in Ireland every May.

The video highlights the contributions of displaced individuals in Ireland and celebrates the impact they make in the communities.

It features interviews with volunteers who share their experiences of resettlement, and the positive impact volunteering has had on their integration.

“Diversity and inclusion are core values of National Volunteering Week, and this video is a testament to the power of volunteering to bring people together,” explained County Wicklow Volunteer Centre Manager, Storm Pyper.

“We hope that by sharing these stories, more people will be inspired to volunteer and connect with their communities. Volunteering is an act of profound generosity that can transform our communities into more diverse, dynamic, and welcoming spaces.

“By offering our time and skills to support the needs of others, we not only strengthen our communities, but also deepen our own sense of belonging and connection. This National Volunteering Week, we’re celebrating the power of volunteering to enrich our communities, bridge social divides, and create meaningful connection,” she added.

The video was made possible thanks to support from the Department of Rural and Community Development, and Minister of State in the Department, Joe O’Brien, said: “It is important for me as the Minister with responsibility for Volunteering, to make it clear just how important volunteers and volunteering are in our communities.

“This video highlights just how impactful volunteers are in playing a critical role in supporting diverse, inclusive and vibrant communities, and this week is all about volunteers.

“The extraordinary events over the last three years just show us how phenomenal our volunteers are, and this week is a way of highlighting the tremendous work that has and is being done.

“I want to personally thank volunteers nationwide for their commitment to their communities not just for the last three years but all of the time, and for ensuring that people feel connected, welcomed and within their communities.”

Commenting on the connection that people can make in their communities through volunteering, the Minister of State for Public Health and Wellbeing, Hildegarde Naughton, remarked: “Volunteering is at the heart of every community, creating a sense of connection. It is a connection that is so necessary in all our lives.

“It is a connection that benefits both the lives of those receiving support and those providing it. Boosting self-esteem, confidence, stress reduction and providing a sense of wellbeing are outcomes that can be shared amongst a volunteering connection, between people and communities.

“It is important that we take time to celebrate our volunteers, without whom, life for so many people would simply not be the same. Volunteers are unsung heroes who so generously give their time to enrich the lives of neighbours, families and communities nationwide; National Volunteering Week provides the perfect moment to acknowledge and applaud our volunteers,” she added.