Mas Howlder - Volunteer Case Study
My name is Mas Howlder, originally from Bangladesh but now residing in the Reception Centre for refugees and asylum seekers in Richmond Court, Longford Town. While studying in Bangladesh, I was involved in national politics and also have a passion for sports – particularly our national sport, cricket. In my home country I also volunteered to help the poor of my local community.
I met Terri Doherty who comes down to the reception centre in April this year and she encouraged me to think about volunteering. After giving it some thought I registered with the Volunteer Centre. Volunteering through the Volunteer Centre has offered me the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends and form a social circle, In addition, it provides a platform for me to further develop my communication and interpersonal skills.Personally, I consider volunteering an opportunity to give back to the community where I am living and through volunteering I have gained an understanding of some of the difficulties in the lives of those less fortunate than myself. This has helped me develop empathy.
Currently I volunteer weekly as a gardener in Springlawn - a local authority housing estate in Longford Town. We meet every Wednesday with Seamus Orr, who assigns us our tasks for the day. We keep the area clean and tidy, plant flower beds and enhance the area for the aesthetic pleasure of the community.
Alongside this role, I have also volunteered at numerous ‘once off’ events such as fundraising, stewarding, environmental worker, sports assistant and event organiser. I have volunteered on behalf of many organisations – Longford Tidy Towns, Irish Heart Foundation, GROW Longford, Special Olympics, Longford Friends of Children of Chernobyl, Longford Volunteer Centre, Midland Simon Community, Cruthu Arts Festival, Taste of the Lakelands, Longford Colour Run, Longford Marathon, Longford Town FC supporters club and Longford Sports Partnership.
Participating in volunteering has positively impacted my mental health and well-being. As a migraine sufferer, I find that volunteering and engaging socially helps me overcome the sometimes severe pain. My mental health is boosted with the knowledge that I am increasingly becoming a valuable member of society. I have completed a Fetac Level 3 award in Desk Top Publishing and I am currently continuing my education by doing a level 3 photopgrapy course with Longford/Westmeath ETB.