News & Events

Shekinah trouble shoots at Braeside Park

October 1, 2018

Shekinah Ramos grew up believing that older people should be respected for all that they have contributed to families and the wider community. Now a 20-year-old Monash University science student, Shekinah hasn’t changed her mind. In fact, she volunteers at OCAV’s Braeside Park village as a way of offering service to older Victorians.

Shekinah, who came to Australia from the Philippines with her family more than a decade ago, is the computer troubleshooter at Braeside Park, visiting weekly or fortnightly to fix computer problems and answer questions. She loves the technical side of the ‘job’ and the opportunity to socialise with the older residents.

“I have made some lovely friends at Braeside Park and I really enjoy working with the residents. Older people seem to be isolated in our community and not respected. People don’t seem to value the contributions they have made to society. It’s not like that in the Philippines,” Shekinah said.

“A lot of residents want to be involved in modern technology because they see it as a valuable tool. It’s good to be able to help them overcome anything that gets in their way.”

Shekinah, who lives in nearby Cranbourne North with her parents and younger brother, finds time to volunteer at Braeside Park and also at Monash University where she is part of the Friends4Fiji group, raising money for students in Fiji who are studying medicine. It’s a cause close to Shekinah’s heart. She is three years into her double degree studying biomedicine and science and she hopes to then study medicine. One of her current volunteering projects is organising a Pacific Health Night dinner for 150 medical students. She has secured some keynote speakers, including Associate Professor Andrew Steer, to discuss Pacific health issues.

Her long-term plan is to become a doctor and a surgeon, but for now she has a lot of study and volunteering on her plate.

“I have to plan and schedule things carefully so that I get a lot of study done, but I like what I do. It’s my way of helping people and giving something back where I can,” Shekinah said.

Interestingly, Shekinah’s tertiary studies in science involve a lot of technology, making the volunteering role a neat fit. She has also attended computer camps and developed computer games.

“I enjoy technology, but volunteering and working one-to-one with residents means I am not just working in front of a screen, but engaging with people,” she said.

“It would be good if people could see older people for who they are and not who they once were.”

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