Exploring volunteering experiences of South Asian Indians and their intersections with community identity and daily life in Canada
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There is abundant evidence that volunteering generates both positive and negative impacts on the daily lives of volunteers as well as individuals in the communities they serve (Cavanaugh et al., 2000; Han et al., 2020, p.1732). Volunteering experiences of immigrant communities like South Asian Indians (SAIs) in Canada are not well represented in Western volunteering literature, and this gap is especially concerning in times when there is a worldwide decline in volunteering retention (Stefanick et al., 2020, p.124). To help fill this gap, I interviewed SAIs in Canada to understand what it means to volunteer for them and what constitutes their volunteering experiences. Throughout the research, I became increasingly aware of the importance of a variety of contextual factors that shaped the volunteering experience. Adopting a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, I was able to explore the ways in which different contextual factors influenced the volunteering interpretations, motivations, recognition of the SAI community identity, as well as the impact that volunteering created on daily life. The shared conversations with the SAI volunteers revealed four principal themes: (1) volunteering interpretations are different in the native and immigrant country, (2) settlement goals and leisure goals are primary volunteer motives, (3) the SAI community identity emerges when volunteers seek familiarity in the Canadian contexts, and (4) volunteering meanings, motives, and identities interact to have a possible impact on daily life. The findings highlight the interactions between the contexts, volunteers’ priorities, leisure outcomes of volunteering, and culture at the volunteering organization, thereby reinforcing the significance of considering the contextual factors in future research. In addition, the study presents volunteer participants’ suggestions that can support volunteering organizations in their work to improve volunteer welfare and volunteer retention.
Cite this version of the work
Aradhana Tewari (2023). Exploring volunteering experiences of South Asian Indians and their intersections with community identity and daily life in Canada. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/19878
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