Meet Samarveer: Large heroism in a small frame

By Indira Laisram
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Samarveer Singh Sandhu

The coolest young man right now is this eight-year old from Williams Landing. As the youngest volunteer in humanitarian work around Victoria, Samarveer Singh Sandhu is already a hero in the eyes of the world. Not without reason then that young Samarveer has been honoured and recognised for his services (more on that below).

Samarveer was only six years only when he started following his father, Japinder Singh Sandhu, who as a volunteer for United Sikhs and the Wyndham Park Community Centre, has been involved with charity works and, more recently, been at the forefront of providing food for the needy particularly during the bushfires and the current pandemic.

The Year 3 student of Westbourne Grammar School, Williamstown, says he saw his dad one day working really hard. “I could see his sweat, so I wanted to help,” he says. At the same time, “There were no other children working to inspire others,” he rues.

So, in these past two years, Samarveer has fashioned himself as a volunteer. He is the youngest and a key member of the Guru Nanak’s Free Community Kitchen and Food Pantry Project, which was started to meet the need of those in the city of Wyndham that were experiencing food insecurity.

During COVID-19, Samarveer got down to helping his father who was cooking over 400 meals each week for more than 100 families and delivering them, an achievable initiative for someone his age. The food he says were given to homeless people, elderly, single parents, international students and those affected by the pandemic.

During Christmas and the New Year, Samarveer also picked up food from Aldi for families in need within the Wyndham region.

Samarveer’s extraordinary selfless service has been acknowledged by many volunteer organisations. He now wears a few feathers on his cap.

This January 4, he was honoured by the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurudawara Sahib Officer for being the youngest volunteer. Accepting the honour, Samarveer gave a small speech on ‘seva’ (service) saying that he enjoyed packing food merely thinking about those who will benefit from it immensely. He also urged parents to encourage and help children understand and adopt the concept of seva.

Samarveer also became the youngest recipient of the 2020 Lalor Hero Award on January 28. Joanne Ryan, Federal Member of Parliament for Lalor presented the award to Samarveer for his contributions towards the community and supporting the vulnerable during the pandemic.

More recently, Samarveer was appointed a Junior Ambassador by Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation. Last year, when in an unfortunate accident four Victoria police officers lost their lives, it impacted Samarveer greatly, who wrote a letter to Police Minister Lisa Neville advocating for better safety. Now, as junior Ambassador he will represent the Victoria Police in community and cultural events. He is one of the youngest Victoria police Ambassadors.

Proud father Japinder is very complimentary when it comes to his son’s achievements. He says the fact his son now features among the celebrated young Ambassadors on the Victorian Police website is a cause for celebration. He also says that it was on his son’s encouragement that he became a Volunteer firefighter at Country Fire Authority. During his food donation drives to Bairnsdale to help bushfire victims, Japinder shared stories of the brave firefighters with his son, who then asked him, “Why can’t you be a firefighter?”

Truly an inspiration for each other, Japinder found himself going to the local fire station at Point Cook to register and after a year-long wait recently became a Volunteer firefighter at Country Fire Authority.

Samarveer says he would like to be a police officer when he grows up. Interestingly, the Victorian Police Blue Ribbon Foundation states, “We think the future is in good hands with Samarveer.”

Westbourne Grammar School also published Samarveer’s achievements on the school’s Facebook page, not to mention the many other letters of appreciation he has received.

 

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Asked how he feels about all these recognitions, Samarveer says, “I feel very proud of myself and I also feel very emotional.”

Describing the rest of his routine, Samarveer says he enjoys school and learning maths, spelling and writing. Earnest and thoughtful on the phone too, Samarveer is already accumulating remarkable moments from his young life – moments that are sure to stand him in good stead.


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