The rich rewards of volunteering are not lost on Footscray’s Sahil Puri.

Coming to Australia in 2013 as an international student, Mr Puri wanted to connect with the area he would call home.

“I started volunteering when I first came to Australia, as I thought it was the best way to get involved,” he said.

“I fell in love with it, and volunteering became my passion.”

Mr Puri, 22, has volunteered as a Shout Out speaker with the Centre for Multicultural Youth, and served as vice-president of the International Student Association at Victoria University.

He undertook his studies in IT, but has since turned his attention to working in the “very rewarding” field of youth work. Mr Puri said international students come to Australia seeking opportunities, but face a number of hardships and often struggle to find work after graduation.

Speaking last week as part of National Youth Week, he is keen to address what he calls the ‘bystander culture’ and the need to speak up for what is right.

“Most people in Australia are welcoming, but everyone has a different experience. When a bystander speaks up for someone, it is really welcoming someone and saying you have equal rights.”