Mirrabooka: MercyCare recognises 175 volunteers on International Volunteer Day

Mirrabooka: MercyCare recognises 175 volunteers on International Volunteer Day

A SOUTH Sudanese volunteer was one of 175 MercyCare volunteers who were recognised for their work in the community on International Volunteer Day last week.

Philip Lako, who has been volunteering with MercyCare Mirrabooka since 2015, suffered from brutality and abuse as a child soldier.

Mr Lako managed to escape to Kenya, where he lived among 800,000 people in camps before arriving in Australia in 2004.

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The Aveley father-of-three said his experience in South Sudan was a big driving force to teach English, host safety inductions and employment workshops in Mirrabooka.

“I keep asking myself why some people have to suffer and how come some people have opportunities,” he said.

“During my childhood I learnt that the process of giving was to sustain one’s life.

“If you didn’t give, it may have been the difference between life and death; sharing was very important.

“As human beings we should all do a little bit to help others and hopefully that person will reciprocate and help another and in doing so, the world will be a better place.”

He said he hoped to obtain a formal qualification.

“I am studying full-time at Edith Cowan University,” he said.

“The way I live, as a family we sometimes struggle but I cannot complain.”

MercyCare volunteer services co-ordinator Anne Ward said Mr Lako was a role model for young migrants and refugees.

“Philip has travelled the road that many refugees have taken, so he has extraordinary empathy and insight,” she said.

“He is genuine in his commitment to empowering young people and has demonstrated great honesty in sharing his story and life challenges to help inspire others and break the cycle of disadvantage.”