Community Awards gratify recipients, encourage volunteers

Shirish Paranjape (centre) with (from left) Shilpa Shailaj, Amit Raut Arpan Mandal and Amit Sarkar

Shirish Paranjape
Christchurch, July 21, 2022

Four persons of Indian origin were among the recipients of the Community Service Awards presented by the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board, Christchurch City Council.

It was a pleasure and a surprise to the winners writes Our Christchurch Correspondent Shirish Paranjape, who is a member of the Community Board.,

Amit Raut: I always volunteer and never expect anything back; that is why it was nice that people in the community recognised volunteering I was happy to take my family to the ceremony. The venue was great. The structure of the ceremony was well planned. It was a proud moment when I received the award in front of my friends, family and other recipients.

Ameya Raut (son of Amit Raut): The Community Service Awards night was an enlightening event, recognising inspiring individuals for their volunteering and community service. It made me realise how motivated people are to make a difference. Initially, I thought the ceremony would be strict and inflexible; it was the opposite.

Recipients of Community Awards of the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board of the Christchurch City Council

Dr Vinod Singh (nominator): I have been living in New Zealand for the past 25 years. This year, I came to know that there are awards given by the City Council for volunteers working in the community. I had the opportunity to nominate someone who was selected and received the award. This was a surprise to the person receiving it.

As a nominator, I felt good because the award acknowledges the hard work of volunteers. I could see the joy in the faces of people who were awarded. These awards are for such a good cause. There are lots of people who do volunteering and help the community. Acknowledging their work not only boosts their confidence but makes them feel proud and encourages them.

I would like to thank Shirish Paranjape from the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board who was part of the award function.

Gopal Ponnuram (Nominator): The event was well organised. The coordinator rang a few days before the event and got our confirmation. Even though only I was invited initially, she added my wife to attend at my request. It was also good to see a good cross-section of ethnic communities represented as awardees. I have lived in Christchurch for 34 years but had never attended such an event.

Shilpa Shailaj (Award Recipient): I am truly honoured to be a recipient of this community award. Sports Canterbury was looking for someone who could volunteer to learn and teach strength and balance exercises for the elderly. I always wanted to do this as I thoroughly enjoy doing yoga, which is how I got involved.

I never expected to receive a community award. I am honoured and grateful to Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board for considering me for this award. Each awardee was introduced, and their voluntary work was mentioned in the booklet and the felicitation.

I thank Shirish Paranjape and members of our Yoga group for nominating me for this award.

Arpan Mandal (Award Recipient): Since I received the Christchurch City Council letter, I could not believe it. I read it a few times until I realised its importance. Slowly, my initial doubt turned into jubilation. I believe that my family was more excited. We made sure that none of us missed the event. We had no idea how big the event would turn out to be.

The ceremony was much more than I anticipated. We were overjoyed to meet so many people and had a few other recipients. It opened my eyes to know the background of so much good work that people do around us in a population shy of 500,000. We interacted with a few other awardees and marked it a day worth remembering and sharing with others for the rest of my life.

Thanks to everyone who supported me to be worthy of receiving this award.

Amit Sarkar (Award Recipient): When I came to know that I would be a recipient of the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board Community Service Award, I felt deeply honoured. It was a rich and pleasant experience. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Chair and members of the Fendalton-Waimairi-Harewood Community Board. Words fail to convey my deep sense of gratitude and gratification. I am truly inspired and deeply moved by their trust. I would like to thank my treasured friends and family for encouraging and inspiring me all along. Like any recognition, it brings a sense of responsibility, and I am already thinking about the next projects.

As a Community Board member of Indian ethnicity, it was so satisfying for me to see the voluntary work done by my members of the Indian community being acknowledged and recognized this way.

Shirish Paranjape is Indian Newslink Correspondent based in Christchurch. He is a Justice of the Peace and a member of the Community.

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