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Accomplished Akriti reaches new heights after Salvos experience


Former Salvos volunteer Akriti Jain (right) was recently selected as a researcher for a UN project and is working towards the goal of further humanitarian aid work.

 BY KIRRALEE NICOLLE

 

A former Salvation Army volunteer was recently selected as the sole Australian participant in a global UN and UNICEF research and strategy initiative.


Akriti Jain moved to Australia from India to study commerce at Deakin University, Victoria. Alongside her studies, she has volunteered at The Salvation Army, The Smith Family, Vinnies and Girl Guides. Akriti also undertook a UN Diploma through the United Nations Association of Australia. Wyndham City Council (Vic.) recently recognised her for her achievements and humanitarian work with the title of One Wyndham Young Person of the Month for April.


The 24-year-old said that while growing up in India, she saw a lot of income inequality. As a high schooler, she volunteered with an NGO, helping teach children living in slums.


“It was quite a big reality check,” she said. “A lot of students would drop out of school because either their parents wanted them to work somewhere or they were sick and didn't have access to good health care to be able to see a doctor and come back to [school].”


After having these experiences, volunteering locally was a natural choice for Akriti, and one she continued after moving to Australia. She gave her time to the Nunawading Salvos Store in Melbourne, which she said she really enjoyed.


“The volunteers are quite friendly, and the manager is super nice,” she said. “I just really enjoyed that atmosphere.”


When an opportunity arose for her to work with the UN and UNICEF on a humanitarian strategy for women, Akriti took it. She said the research involved interviewing women who had lived as refugees or had a refugee background in European nations to find out how funding models could best suit their needs.


She said for women living as refugees or recent migrants in Australia, feeling comfortable to go out and live freely after coming from a vastly different culture could be difficult because of language barriers or safety concerns. She said when she moved from India, she found living in Australia scary at first and considered going back but was glad she stayed and settled in.


“It’s worth the effort,” Akriti said.


Akriti said she hopes to eventually work in policymaking for not-for-profit organisations. She is currently completing her studies to become a Chartered Professional Accountant while working as a consultant at Deloitte.

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