'I really appreciate how the NSW SES provides its members with the opportunity to gain skills and experience in a wide range of areas.'
My name is Sharmin Hossain, friends call me Eva. I moved to Australia after high school for further learning. June this year (2018) will make it 4 years that I have been a member with the NSW SES. I have always been passionate about helping communities during times of need and engaging with the community in a meaningful way. Hence, soon after joining, I became involved in community engagement at my unit. I am also involved in Field Rescue, Operations and Admin roles. I really appreciate how the NSW SES provides its members with the opportunity to gain skills and experience in a wide range of areas.
It was the 2010 Queensland floods that prompted me to pick up the phone and call the NSW SES to enquire about how I could go over to help out as a volunteer. I was at university studying full-time as an international student and working part-time to survive at the time. Although I didn't have extra funds lying around or the ideal circumstances to travel interstate, I felt an undeniable urge to reach out. I just could not continue going about my day knowing what was going on over there. Having grown up in Bangladesh, a country known for its natural disasters, I could deeply relate to those impacted in Queensland.
Floods, storms and cyclones occur in Bangladesh on another scale! Bangladesh experiences natural disasters almost on an annual basis and has dealt with some of the largest on record including the deadliest tropical cyclone ever to be recorded which claimed half a million lives. Just last year (2017), Cyclone Mora alone left half a million people displaced within the country. I've grown up seeing first-hand the absolute and utter destruction and devastation that can be caused by natural disasters. Homes, families, livelihoods swept away, communities left with nothing but rubble and only memories of what used to be. I always wondered why there weren't better systems in place nationally to manage these incidents. I have always been a big believer in being the change you want to see which eventually led me to come to Australia to study about climate sciences and join the SES.
My favourite part about being a member of the NSW SES is having the opportunity to help out my community when it is needed most. I really value being able to work with the community, getting to know them and helping them get to know more about us through community engagement. With a better understanding of what we do when not operational such as the training, time and effort that go into being job ready, the community seems to appreciate the NSW SES even more and are open to working with us to help build community resilience.
During my time in the NSW SES, I can't count the number of skills I have learnt! The NSW SES offers numerous types of training to develop the skills of its members. Out of all the skills that I have had the opportunity to develop at SES, I think the most integral and applicable (in any situation) are the people skills: the skills pertaining to team work, communication, collaboration, management and leadership skills that all members have equal access to.
For those thinking to join the SES, there are many highly experienced members who can offer great advice. I would be more than happy to have a conversation with anyone thinking of joining but I would also pose the questions: Why haven't you joined yet? What's holding you back? With flexible volunteering options, there are more ways today than ever before to become a volunteer.
Thinking about becoming a member like Sharmin but not sure what you'd like to do? Find out about our various Volunteering Roles