Volunteer of the Month – March 2024: Keeth

1. What is your background (profession/ workplace/ training)?

I am a junior doctor at Monash Health, aiming to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology. I am also an adjunct lecturer at Monash University, where I focus my research on stillbirth prevention and improving perinatal outcomes for mothers and babies.


2. What inspired you to become a volunteer with The Water Well Project?

I was born in Sri Lanka and moved to Australia with my family when I was 11 years old. As a child from an immigrant family, I distinctly remember how difficult it was for my family to learn to navigate a new healthcare system. As a doctor, I now encounter many patients from immigrant families who are experiencing similar struggles. I take every opportunity to explain to these families in detail the next steps for their care, whether it be further inpatient management, or following up with their GP or attending other outpatient appointments on discharge. When a fellow colleague told me about The Water Well Project, I was so excited by the opportunity to help migrant, refugee and asylum seeker populations on a community level, I just had to volunteer!


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

One of my favourite moments was while facilitating a mental health and wellbeing session. This particular community group mainly comprised women who had immigrated from other countries, many of whom were seeking refuge from unsafe conditions. One participant shared their experiences of trauma and war in their own country and how it continues to impact their mental health. Immediately after, almost everyone in the group shared similar experiences and I believe this session strengthened the bonds within that community - as many of them understood that they were all experiencing similar struggles. This was such an eye-opening experience for me and highlighted the power of a community’s ability to help each other and improve their mental health and wellbeing.


4. What tips do you have for new volunteers?

Just go for it! You may be nervous before your first session, but I have found that the community groups are always so engaged in the topic and really drive the discussion for you. The Water Well Project also provides fantastic topic templates that can guide the session, so I would definitely recommend reading through the material beforehand.


5. “I volunteer because…”

I volunteer because engaging with community groups from migrant, refugee, and asylum seeker backgrounds to enhance their health is an immensely fulfilling experience. Not only do I cherish the chance to enhance the health literacy of the community, but I also gain invaluable knowledge from our wonderfully diverse participants.