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Volunteer spotlight: Miriam Lai from the youth team.

Photo: Emma Durki/OxfamAUS

Hi, I’m Miriam and I love volunteering at Oxfam. I work in the Sydney office in the Youth Engagement Program (YEP) which is full of life and laughs and I always look forward to coming in. The office is down to earth with a little bit of a hippie vibe, including compost bins in the kitchen, non-compulsory footwear and even yoga practice once a week in the office.

I’ve had the opportunity to attend events like Eat Local Feed Global as part of the GROW campaign, meet and listen to incredible speakers, eat yummy food and join in on our 3things photo shoot to name a few — all of which are definite perks of the role.

As for my work on the social media front, it’s a real buzz to see tangible interaction — whether it’s a new follower or ‘like’, engaging in a conversation on Twitter or just watching our audience grow.

Before joining Oxfam, I had just finished an internship with UNICEF Australia and wanted to gain more experience in communications and social media — especially in the NGO sector. So when I saw the ad for this role, I jumped at the chance, got in touch and by some lucky strike of fortune, got the gig.

I first heard about Oxfam in high school at our social justice events. Since then I’ve seen them at music festivals, in shopping centres, on the streets, everywhere!

3things is an important component to Oxfam, as it engages with the youth of Australia and encourages them to start small. In a world where there really is SO much going on,  3things is that little voice that gently pulls you back to your centre (yeah, I’m making a yoga analogy here), and reminds you that you are in control and you CAN make a difference.

And it can be as easy as starting with just your 3things.

My connection with this belief, and an excitement for young, like-minded people who also care about what goes on in this world, made this the ideal opportunity.

For me, wanting to be a part of Oxfam all really started when I went to Thailand as a volunteer on a mission trip in 2013. Meeting, connecting with, and helping the people there (and literally getting my hands dirty) brought me a real sense of accomplishment.

Cliché as it is, in giving, I received so much more in return. It made me realise I could do the same and make a positive difference back home with my journalism and communication skills.

You can make a difference through volunteering too.