Andi Diwapasatya, one of Advance Diversity Services’ (ADS) long-term volunteers, has been recognised for her incredible 20-year commitment to serving her local community.

The Indonesian Welfare Association honoured her with an appreciation award for her service at a ceremony in late June. On June 27, Andi shared her volunteering journey, alongside two fellow volunteers, at the Georges River Council Volunteer Expo held at the Marana Hall as part of National Volunteer Week.

Andi receiving a recognition award from Ms Dewi Putru, founder of the Indonesian Welfare Association’s Punchbowl Women’s Support Group, where Andi has been volunteering for 20 years.

Young-at-heart Andi, who arrived in Australia in June 2002 from Jakarta, Indonesia, faced challenges in finding work despite her extensive experience as an Indonesian government worker. In 2005, Andi saw an advertisement for an Indonesian women’s support group for new migrants at a local school. Taking on an assistant role, she began her journey as a volunteer.

Andi commenced her studies at TAFE, earning a Certificate I, III, and IV and in 2007, she completed a student placement at Riverwood Neighbourhood Centre, assisting the frail and elderly with their shopping. She continued her studies and went on to complete her Diploma of Community Services in 2008, with a student placement with the Indonesian Community Consul at St George MRC and Metro MRC.

Andi was then offered roles assisting the Indonesian Community Group at Campsie, helping students with literacy difficulties at Clemton Park Public School. In 2009, Andi completed a course with Good Beginnings Australia, which led to a volunteer role conducting family home visits.

Andi shared her volunteering journey as part of National Volunteer Week.

In 2011, Andi attended a course at Metro MRC for multicultural, bilingual educators. This resulted in her first paid position, providing playgroup services for families with children aged 0-8 as part of a pilot project. Whilst continuing her other volunteer roles at the same time, Andi relished her playgroup facilitator role and when the project was completed in 2012, Andi continued to run the playgroup as a volunteer until 2016.

2014 saw Andi move into the health sector, serving as a casual bilingual community educator for female genital mutilation/cutting at Western Sydney Local Health District and as a community educator for Hepatitis and HIV at Sydney Local Health District.

In October of 2014, Andi was approached by the principal of Pelangi Indonesian Community Language School in Leumeah to teach Bahasa Indonesian every Saturday. Although this was a volunteer position, the principal offered to cover the costs of a Diploma of Community Languages from Sydney University, and if she wished, a Master of Teaching as well. This was an offer Andi could not refuse. It also meant that Andi was now a full-time volunteer, dedicating her time and talents from Monday to Saturday.

The Georges River Council Volunteer Expo was held at the Marana Hall on June 27, 2024.

Andi’s journey with ADS began in 2016, when she joined our Rockdale office as a settlement officer working with the Indonesian Community. In 2018, ADS received a grant to showcase Indonesian culture, leading Andi to help establish the Indonesian Art and Culture Club (IACC), an intergenerational group that meets every Sunday. She has continued in this coordinator role ever since and is committed to promote traditional Indonesian language, arts and talents in the diaspora community.

Andi continues to volunteer with ADS and we were thrilled when NSW Premier, Chris Minns, presented her with a Volunteer Recognition Award last year. Her recent Appreciation Award from the Indonesian Welfare Association for 20 years of service is a testament to her unwavering commitment to others.

Andi proudly says of herself, ‘I am a pensioner, but I am not retired’. Her boundless energy, generosity and compassion for others shines through as she volunteers six days a week. Andi attributes her success to the support of others, particularly her husband, but it is clear she has touched countless lives through her service and means the world to many.

Thank you, Andi, for your hard work, dedication and incredible service to our local community.

To listen to Andi’s full speech, please click here.