Sarah. A volunteer, friend and a crucial part of our team. Welcome to our Community series for July. Sarah is a fellow brit, but has lived in Aotearoa for over 10 years and volunteering with Koha Apparel 2 years now. Sarah goes above and beyond for our community at our pop-ups and has recently started learning sign language so she can better communicate with our hearing-impaired community. To say we’re impressed is an understatement and I think our entire community would agree.
Why did you choose to join the Koha team?
I recognise that I've had a pretty privileged life and wanted to give back in some way. I started by donating a few bags of clothes, then taking part in a couple of sorting evenings at the storage unit and the next thing I know it's taken over most weekends! Hearing Charli talk so passionately about the huge amount of people that live under the poverty line then seeing the very real need first-hand at the pop up's was an eye opener. It's the least I can do.
Can you share with us what you enjoy most about being a part of the Koha team?
I love feeling like I'm part of something bigger. There's such a connection and feeling of community. I was unemployed for a short time earlier this year and going to Koha kept me feeling useful, it gave me a sense of purpose. The team is wonderful! Bright, warm, funny with some of the biggest hearts I've known! We're all there for the same reason; to help people feel valued, feel heard and, hopefully, to bring them something that'll make them smile.
What are some special moments that you have had with people in our community since joining?
After doing a couple of the inner city pop-up's, I noticed that there was a large number of deaf people who were living rough. Being homeless often leads to a feeling of isolation and loneliness, compound with being unable to easily communicate with most people, and you're in a dark place. I have started learning NZSL and have been getting to know one of our deaf regulars. The moment he realised I was learning for him was so special.