Canada's Champions of Change

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Featured Volunteer: Ajay Puri

Vancouver, BC
29 Years Old
 
CATEGORY 
Canada: Social Justice

ORGANIZATION
Rangi Changi Roots
Pivot Legal Society 
Bridge to a Cool Planet

AJAY'S STORY
As told by Lara Honrado, his friend and fellow co-founder of Rangi Changi Roots.

Why is Ajay an outstanding volunteer or why you think his work is extraordinary?
Frankly I'm not sure when he sleeps. Ajay has boundless energy; he is always getting involved in new projects and starting new initiatives. He's an amazing volunteer because he is literally tireless. There's nothing that he can't do because he's so energetic and positive, and of course, he is extremely smart.

I think Ajay is one of the most amazing volunteers in Canada because he has a unique ability to bridge the gap between activist communities and multicultural communities. I would say that's pretty valuable and unique. In a lot of the work that we in the non-profit sector do, the "multicultural piece' is added on at the end. But for Ajay, it underpins everything he does. Including and embracing multiculturalism is part of who he is and certainly motivates his volunteer work.

What do you find is most inspiring about Ajay?
I am really inspired by the diversity of activities Ajay takes part in. He's involved in so many things and it seems like none of it is especially related. He's curious about everything and wants to get involved but he is also incredibly respectful. He's able to establish trust with people and that makes him a very effective go-between.

For example, I was really inspired by his work for Bridge to a Cool Planet. He helped get leaders from the largest cultural communities to hold a press conference and he rallied all these folks to really speak up about the issue of climate change. It was a rare event and one that was much needed. But that was just typical Ajay Puri. He gets people to help out however busy we might be. He inspires and he rallies.

Why did Ajay become involved in volunteering, or with their special cause/endeavour?
I'm sure Ajay's volunteering spirit came from the way he was raised. But I also think it comes from his general curiosity about the world. Part of why he volunteers also has to do with his self-awareness as a South Asian man in a country where we use terms like "visible minority." He has deep connections within his own community but through his life as a student and activist he has connections with so many other communities as well. After September 11th, Ajay really saw the need to reach out and include diverse communities as a way to promote peace and find common goals rather than focus on divisive issues. I think it was at that point in his life that he really saw the need for social justice activism and decided to make this part of his volunteer efforts.

Related Websites
Ajay's Events Column with the Vancouver Observer
Bridge to a Cool Planet 
East of Main 
Ethno-Cultural Health Research and Community Network 
Rangi Changi Roots

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