March 24, 2022
Hello, my name is Nikita Patak. I am a qualified management accountant and I have worked in the finance sector in Dublin over the past 10 years. I first came across VSI during my undergraduate studies at Dublin City University. My initial impression of VSI was of an organisation with a strong ethos that was looking to enrich the volunteer experience. However, at that time I was heavily involved with the Saint Vincent de Paul university society as their chairperson and was not able to further engage with VSI.
Fast forward 10 years and I came across a call out on a volunteer board for individuals with finance experience to join the Board of VSI. I took this as a sign to look into the organisation and the work it carries out. What I have found is that VSI’s mission to promote peace, solidarity, social justice, sustainable development and intercultural understanding resonates strongly with me. I spent my early childhood years in South Africa, my teenage and adult years in Ireland and my ancestral roots are Indian – I am mix of cultures to say the least! Add to this a few stints travelling and volunteering in Europe and other parts of the world. I have spent time in Australia helping out on a rural hobby farm with alpaca, sheep, chicken and dogs and setting up an organic vegetable garden. In India I supported an island reserve in Goa providing tours and looking at ways of protecting the local wildlife. These experiences among others have allowed me to meet people of all ages, genders, cultures, religions, sexual orientation and abilities, and they align my beliefs with that of VSI. VSI’s method of achieving its aims through programmes which allow for a volunteer experience that enriches local communities and provides the volunteer with an educational growth is something I truly believe in as I feel it mirrors the experiences I have had so far in my life.
As a new member to the Board of VSI I am joining at a time where we are hopefully at the tail end of the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic but experiencing other challenges in Ukraine and other areas of conflict. I am keen to get involved with and support the organisation in its efforts and I look forward to the journey the organisation will take in the coming years.