For Chamilka Jayawardana, taking action alone wasn't enough. She wanted to join a movement of people pushing for systemic change. Read more community stories.

I was born in Sri Lanka, lived in Zambia and went to boarding school in England. I came here for university and that was the last stop.

A few years after I moved here I saw a picture of myself with three close high school friends. They were Nigerian, Japanese and English and then there was me. I remember thinking to myself 'that's like the United Nations right there'.

I realised I never really saw colour until I came to Australia, because my new surroundings lacked it so much. Thankfully over 20 years, things have changed.

Having moved around so much, I have a slight identity crisis and always felt safer identifying myself as an international citizen. I say to my kids, ‘everyone is a citizen of the world and you are here to lift the whole world up, as well as Australia.’

Photo: courtesy Chamilka Jayawardana

Chamilka is a member of ACF Community Sunshine Coast Region. Want to be follow in her footsteps and join an ACF Community group? Find your local group and join Chamilka and all of us in creating systemic change for nature and our climate.

I joined ACF because I wanted greater impact. I’ve done a lot of micro-level environmental stuff like recycling, but I felt like an ant running around achieving nothing. The biggest challenge at the moment is climate change. Making my household zero waste is not going to fix that.

I started with ACF’s Activate training in November 2019, which was brilliant. The last time I got comprehensive training like that was when I was in the corporate workforce.

I joined ACF because I wanted greater impact. The biggest challenge at the moment is climate change. Making my household zero waste is not going to fix that.

When you volunteer, you want your time well spent. Joining ACF, we all have our allocated tasks that match our skills, then collectively we have a movement. Our community organiser Matt, he's awesome. He always gets back to you, and that keeps you going, because you know your time is being taken seriously.

I’ve always volunteered. It makes me feel hopeful. That sense of service is definitely something my parents instilled in me. Volunteering with ACF helped me meet friends up here and show my kids we are all part of a bigger humanity.


Read more stories about the people who make ACF Community powerful.

Right now ACF has 42 community groups all across the country. Find out more about your local ACF Community group or start your own.

Interested in hearing about all the volunteer opportunities ACF has to offer? Sign up for a welcome call.

Header photo: courtesy Chamilka Jayawardana

Chamilka Jayawardana

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