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You’re never too old to volunteer

20 May 2024

Ros is a grandmother who at 82 years old, still finds time to volunteer as an English tutor for migrants and refugees.

Ros was born in India and in 1968 migrated to the Victorian town of Hamilton with her husband and 3 young children. Ros said that, ‘The decision to migrate was because we wanted a better future for our children. We had an advantage because English was our mother tongue. I want to give back to this lucky country.’

After retiring from her 31 year teaching career at Clonard College, Ros heard about being a volunteer tutor from a friend. In the Volunteer Tutor Scheme, volunteers are trained and matched with people who have recently arrived in Australia and need to learn English. The Volunteer Tutor Scheme is a part of the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and is funded by the Department of Home Affairs.

Ros worked with students from Burma, Afghanistan and Iran as a volunteer tutor. She is currently tutoring a student from Vietnam who has Down syndrome.

Ros said that, ‘I volunteer because I enjoy the company of others. I admire the ambitions of migrants as well as their desire to better their lives and the gratitude they display through conversations. I also understand the hurdles they face because of a different culture and environment and new language.

I’ve also learned resilience myself, through the difficulties migrants face and I admire their positivity. I want to try to be a glimmer of hope in their lives by listening and helping them to settle into Australia by improving their English.’