Volunteers of all ages are leading by example in the Inner West. So, it was fantastic to be able to say thank you at our Mid-Western Sydney virtual ceremony for the 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards.  

At just 14, Anhaar Kareem has already put in a lifetime of volunteering to make our society more inclusive, while Fiona Carr is working to support refugee women and children here in Australia as well as communities in Kenya.

Being far from family can be isolating, particularly when you are older. However, Alois Winder has volunteered for almost four decades to connect German speaking seniors with their birthplace. And 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) mums from Rozelle are working together to raise healthy connected children.

The 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year for the Mid Western Sydney region is Anhaar Kareem.

2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year Award recipients for the Mid Western Sydney region are: 

Young Volunteer of the Year – Anhaar Kareem from Strathfield

At 14, Anhaar is already an essential volunteer at the Islamic Women’s Welfare Association, assisting children in classes and school holiday activities, assisting at a violence against women march and helping to organise and run fundraisers and dinners. Anhaar is also a Wellbeing, Health and Youth commissioner at Western Sydney University.

Adult Volunteer of the Year – Fiona Carr from Homebush West

Fiona is a volunteer project manager for the Horn of Africa Relief and Development Agency.  For seven years, Fiona has run the Swim, Survive and Socialise program, which teaches children from refugee backgrounds to swim. Fiona also runs the Jobs for African Migrants program, which mentors African Women to find employment.

Senior Volunteer of the Year – Alois Winder from Georges Hall

Alois is a backbone of the St Christophorus Aged Care, a community organisation caring for German-speaking seniors. He and his wife Helga have become friends to many residents and a connection to their birth country. With so many community events cancelled over the past two years, the visits by Alois and Helga have been more important than ever.

Volunteer Team of the Year – Gunawirra Mums from Rozelle

This group of about 17 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) mums has come together once or twice a week for five years, supporting each other to be the best parents they can be and raise healthy connected children. The volunteers play an essential role in addressing and healing the intergenerational trauma from the Stolen Generation. As happy, healthy, successful parents they are essential role models for other Aboriginal mums. These volunteers work alongside paid staff and social workers and have helped build ATSI cultural competency amongst early childhood educators in the Inner West.

Regional finalists for the awards are announced at 25 ceremonies throughout NSW and are invited to the Gala State Ceremony for the announcement of the 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year.

The 2021 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards are supported by principal partners the NSW Department of Communities and Justice and ClubsNSW, which represents the state’s 1,400 not-for-profit clubs.