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Planning Retirement Online

Jobs from the Reach files - 3

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In this regular series Olive Braman tells how volunteers can use their skills and expertise through REACH, the charity that places professional and business people in part time voluntary jobs

You can find all the Jobs From the REACH Files articles from the Volunteering Index


It was the television news item that moved him in the first place. Shaik Anwar Ahamath pledged his support to HIV and AIDS awareness when he saw on television the plight of an eight year old child and his mother, who were hounded from the small American town where they lived, because people believed that he had contracted AIDS.

"I felt the pain of this innocent child and his mother," says Anwar. "He was a haemophiliac and had become HIV positive through receiving contaminated blood. Although this was in America it could have happened anywhere."

Anwar never forget his promise, and he now works as a volunteer for EAST (Eastern Aids Support Triangle), a charity that supports people affected by AIDS living in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, in eastern England.

Anwar, 63, came to England as a child from Sri Lanka. He and his family now live in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. But for 18 years he worked as an auditor for the London Borough of Ealing.

"When I took early retirement I wanted to do some worthwhile voluntary work, and REACH introduced me to EAST. They are a very nice and helpful bunch of people who provide much needed respite care for those suffering from AIDS. I work from home as their accountant, book-keeper and budget controller. Because I live nearby it’s very easy for me to draw a cheque and pop it into the office. It’s also handy for me because I can meet my son from school."

Anwar is deeply concerned that accurate ideas about AIDS are made known to the community. "People are scared of the unknown. I remember when Princess Diana first hugged an AIDS patient, my workmates said that it was alright for her because she must have been vaccinated against it. That was the measure of AIDS awareness, and it still exists even today in some areas."

Anwar says that he is grateful for the opportunity to support EAST and to see, at firsthand, the tireless work that they do for AIDS awareness and for people living with HIV and AIDS."

The charity itself is equally grateful. Rose Merrilees, a coordinater, says that Anwar’s financial skill is essential to the smooth running of EAST.

"It’s not easy finding someone with expertise to look after the financial side of things, so to have Anwar is a huge relief. He’s been with us over a year now and he ensures that our financial records and procedures are maintained. He helps prepare the annual budget, balances our bank statements every month and prepares the annual accounts and presents them to the AGM. He has been a godsend to us."

EAST is an independent voluntary agency which offers a confidential support, advice and befriending service to those affected by AIDs and HIV. This includes partners, carers, families and friends. EAST helps to promote positive attitudes and increased understanding of HIV and AIDS, as well as ways of preventing the infection

REACH can be contacted on tel 020 7582 6543.
Email: Website:

EAST's telephone number for information and advice is 01553 770517
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Look out for future features from Olive Braman on Jobs From The REACH Files or view all the REACH Files Articles from our Volunteering Index


laterlife interest

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

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