The Power of Volunteering – Sita Karki and Hugh Murphy

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Today we celebrate International Volunteer Day. On this occasion, I would like to introduce you to my volunteer friends: Sita Karki and Hugh Murphy.

They were born in various countries, are completely different ages and have other passions. But equally, they share a big heart and volunteer work as Wave Makers for the European Capital of Culture Galway 2020.

Sita Karki

cames from Nepal, exactly from Kathmandu. Before she came to Galway, she lived in the USA for eight years. She has been living in Galway since 2018. Sita is an earth observation scientist at NUIG University, that meaning she uses satellite data for studying the earth and the environment.

It is like working with pictures taken from space camera or satellites to know what is going on around us on a much bigger scale.


We met during Hope it rains project Le Déluge. I was impressed by the great energy and brightness she has. I also found out that she writes an interesting blog.

She became a volunteer already in primary school, during World Environment Day. From an early age, she was interested in the field of environmental sciences.  Here is an interview about her work.

My passion is to study different components of the environment like water, land, air using new technologies.

Volunteering for her is giving back

photo by Arun Asan

What motivated you to volunteer and become a Wave Maker with Galway 2020?

The culture and the opportunity to meet people with different background. It is the best way to learn about Galway.

What does volunteering give to you?

Exposure to arts, culture, and international flavours Galway has to offer.

What you can give to others through volunteering?

Opportunity to know about my cultural background.

What was your favourite project in Galway 2020?

It was the Claddagh beach clean-up project because I am an environmental scientist, and it personally made me feel connected to the spirit of caring for the earth.

Did you have something special moments in volunteering which you will remember for the rest of your life?

I think the most memorable one was volunteering as a supervisor for Macnas Halloween Parade in 2019. It was my first time working with such a large number of organizers to make sure everything was running smoothly. 

I also would like to ask you about your involvement in the project:  Be a language teacher.

It was a wonderful experience where I got the opportunity to shed some light on Nepalese culture and language. Because of our rich history of tourism, I always find people having genuine curiosity about Nepal and it always fascinates me.

What does mean to share your language and culture with other volunteers?

When I am sharing my language and cultural experience, it makes me remind about my roots. Sometimes, in the midst of life, we often forget who we are and how much far we have come. It makes me feel grateful for all the people who helped me along the way.

Hugh Murphy

cames from Donegal, but has lived in Galway for 35 years. For many years he ran his own business and because was working six days a week he had no time for many different things. However, a few years ago, he decided to come back to college and completed a BA (Hons) in Contemporary Art. And he has recently begun a Master in Creative Practice, Curation, and Producing at NUIG.

We met in 2015 during volunteering at a local arts festival. I just had moved to Galway and I did not know people, yet. Hugh became my first Irish friend and also a city guide. He showed me lots of interesting art places and quaint coffee shops like a Jungle Café.

His passion is Art!

He had many exhibitions already. I love his short video 25 25 Shirt.

I have been painting and creating for years. Going back to college allowed me to devote all my energy to painting, print, photography, and video making as well as researching into the history and philosophy of art.

He has been volunteering for six years now.

Volunteering means for him engaging with people and giving something back

What motivated me to volunteer and become a Wave Maker with Galway 2020?

I had been involved with the Galway bid for the European Capital of Culture a couple of years ago and got to meet some interesting people and involved with some exciting events, such as an art happening in Merlin Woods and the  Crossing choral event in Rinville Park, Oranmore. I wanted to repeat the experience in 2020.

What does volunteering give to you?

It has allowed me to get involved with people, something I found difficult for years. When I am helping in some way, I find I forget my innate shyness which held me back previously.

What do you hope to give to others through volunteering?

Probably encouragement and enthusiasm. Hopefully it might be contagious.

What was your favourite project in Galway 2020?

The Mirror Pavilion by John Gerrard was very impressive but invigilating at the unusual Unselfing/Deep States exhibition at the Nun’s Island Theatre allowed me to really get to know the creative work really well.

What were the special moments that you experienced through volunteering?

Being involved with the Galway bid for the Capital of Culture 2020. And all the friends, from around the world that I have made through volunteering for various events over the last few years.

What was for you involvement in the presentation Discover My City?

Whether making a quick visit to Galway or planning to put down roots here, it takes time to get to know the city. There are some fantastic artistic and cultural groups here in Galway, something for everyone. I just wanted to introduce visitors to a few of them in the hope they will be encouraged to get involved. Great way to meet new friends.

Hugh made also a great movie about Galway Saturday Market which you can watch here.

Enthusiasm, expression help, and frankly interest to others

When I asked Sita and Hugh if they would give me interviews, they immediately agreed. And they send me their answers so quickly. That is the involvement that I always find in our Wave Maker’s community. Enthusiasm, express help, and frankly interest to others.

I was also keen to talk to more of my teammates so that a clear trace of passion and a big heart would remain in the interviews.

Who would like to share your adventure in volunteering?

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