International student pays it forward

REACHING OUT: Federation University student Saad Almashouq says volunteering at the Ballarat's One Humanity Shower Bus has changed his life. Picture: Lachlan Bence

REACHING OUT: Federation University student Saad Almashouq says volunteering at the Ballarat's One Humanity Shower Bus has changed his life. Picture: Lachlan Bence

When Saad Almashouq left his family behind in Egypt four years ago, he never could have imagine how a city tucked away in country Victoria would change his life.

 “From the moment I stepped into Ballarat, without knowing a single person, I have felt so welcome,” he said. “I have so much love for Ballarat and the community and I really want to give back.”

The Federation University biomedical student believes it was his decision to become a volunteer which changed the course of his life.

“Two years ago, I walked into the leadership and volunteering office at Fed Uni,” he said. “It was one of the best decisions of my life. I have grown as a person and I continue to grow as a person. It’s changed my life, opened up my heart and allowed me to meet amazing people I would have never have met otherwise.”  

Last year, he attended homeless forum in Ballarat.  It was there he connected with the other community members and the Ballarat’s One Humanity Shower Bus Inc was born.

One Humanity Shower Bus Inc chairman Constantine Osuchukwu said the creation of the shower bus would never have been possible without the outpouring of support from the community including local businesses like SEM Fire and Rescue, Laminex, Plumbtec and Haymes Paints who had donated services and materials free of charge.

“This project has only been possible due to the community support,” he said.“I often come back to this but it’s about understanding we are human together. If one of us is diminished, then all of Ballarat is diminished. If one of us flourishes, then we all flourish.”

He said at the heart of the project was restoring hope and dignity to society’s most vulnerable through the provision outreach and hygiene services.  A launch of the shower bus at Federation University last Thursday drew more than 140 people and raised $4000 for the service. It is hoped the shower bus will be operating in the streets in the next month.

Anyone wishing to volunteer can email onehumanityvolunteers1@gmail.com.