Volunteer of the Month – November 2020: Naomi

1. What is your background (profession/ workplace/ training)?
I'm an O&G registrar hoping to specialise in O&G or rural GP Obstetrics. Over the past few years I've been working between the Northern Hospital in Epping, Darwin in the Northern Territory, and more recently Bendigo in regional Victoria.


2. What inspired you to become a Water Well volunteer?
Through my clinical work and previous volunteer work in Australia and overseas I realised how much I love working with people from different cultural backgrounds, having the opportunity to form true connections and learn more about other people's cultures and world views. Working in outer Northern Melbourne and Darwin I witnessed a lack of health literacy especially among my migrant, refugee and asylum seeker patients, and realised that unfortunately in a stretched public health system this isn't always addressed or optimised. When I first heard about Water Well I thought it was the perfect solution - an opportunity to meet with people within their community groups, to share knowledge and information to improve health literacy and help facilitate positive engagement with the Australian healthcare system.

3. Please share one of your favourite Water Well sessions or moments.

Too hard to choose!! I really loved working with the Victoria University Polytechnic cert 2 group, made up of young adults from mostly African backgrounds. We had a very relaxed and honest chat about Covid-19 and the way people had coped with various challenges over the past few months (and also a laugh about the various incorrect ways we'd been seeing people wearing masks!). I also loved having lots of laughs with the Louise Multicultural Community group, made up of older women from mostly Asian backgrounds, sharing ideas about positive ways to prevent dementia and stay connected with their friends. For me, forming these new connections has been extremely rewarding and has also helped me stay positive during a strange year!


4. What tips do you have for new volunteers?
It can be nerve wracking doing your first session, especially if you feel nervous about being asked questions you may not be able to answer. Don't let that hold you back! Take some time to prepare before the session so you feel comfortable with the content - the Water Well topic templates and links to useful resources are valuable! Also be flexible - every session will run slightly differently with some groups more interactive than others, some wanting more of a relaxed format and some more formal, some small intimate groups who know each other well and some larger groups made up of multiple classes - go with the flow and be willing to adjust your approach based on the vibe from the group on the day.