St John launches Caring Caller Service in Hindi

A Diwali gift to those in need in Auckland

Hindi speakers in Auckland with limited or no English, now have access to a friendship-based telephone service in their own language.

The Service was launched on Saturday, October 26, 2019.

Following the 2018 launch of the St John Caring Caller service in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), St John has extended its delivery to reach more isolated individuals from minority communities, with the launch of the service in Hindi.

A team of volunteers in Auckland are ready and excited to be offering their support to their fellow community members but more volunteers are needed.

St John Caring Caller volunteer Jaya Sharda said it is a great way of removing the language barrier for Hindi speakers and creating the chance to share common interests with like-minded people.

“Being a proficient communicator in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu and a few other regional Indian languages, this is the perfect opportunity for me to serve others and give back to the community,” she said.

Free and Confidential

The St John Caring Caller service is a free, confidential telephone service which connects people who need a friend with people who have time to listen and chat.

The Service already has more than 800 volunteers around New Zealand, regularly connecting with over 1250 clients, who range in age and ethnicity.

The Hindi service has been made possible with generous funding from Commonwealth Vault, which has committed to giving $15,000 across three years, to support this initiative.

Detrimental impact of loneliness

St John Director of Community Health Services Sarah Manley said that the Service is pa art of the organisation’s commitment to building community resilience by contributing towards the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

“There has been a lot of research into the detrimental impacts of chronic loneliness, irrespective of a person’s age or circumstances. We know that New Zealand’s ageing population is growing rapidly, with many people living alone and without friends and family close by. There are also individuals in minority communities who lack English. Through our programmes like Caring Caller, we are addressing social isolation by reaching out to provide better care for those who are vulnerable and lonely,” she said.

The Service

Anyone living alone or housebound due to illness or disability, can contact St John about getting a Caring Caller. Each client is paired up with a volunteer whose personality and interests are compatible. While it’s not a helpline in any way, a Caring Caller can also notify the right people, such as St John, if their chat friend isn’t well or doesn’t answer.

“People who are lonely don’t always recognise that they need a friend, so it’s up to others to get the ball rolling. We welcome referrals from community-minded people who know of someone who could use a friend,” Ms Manley said.

For more information, 0800-785646; Email: communityprogrammes@stjohn.org.nz

Photo Caption:

St John Caring Caller volunteer Jaya Sharda

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