Akram used to play football for a famous team in Syria. Now he volunteers for World Vision in Azraq Refugee Camp, providing refugee children with a fun and positive way to spend their time. Photo by Suzy Sainovski, World Vision
Why are volunteers so important to World Vision Australia?
Volunteers are an invaluable asset to World Vision Australia. They enable us to do meaningful work while saving on administrative costs, allowing us to maximise our funds to the field.
We have volunteers that dedicate their time and apply their expertise in a number of areas such as: People and Culture, Property, Aid and Development, Policy and Advocacy and Finance. Some have been with us for over 20 years!
Professionals, students, retirees and the general public… World Vision volunteers come from all walks of life, yet they share one common goal: a passion for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people.
For the past three years World Vision Australia has had over 1,800 volunteers around Australia contribute their time, skills and expertise at all levels of our organisation. This contribution was valued over $1,800,000 annually which translates to sponsorship of over 3,000 children for a whole year.
There’s something special about getting involved with World Vision.
– Jason Mete, World Vision People and Culture Advisor
To celebrate World Volunteer Day, here are three incredible volunteers helping World Vision achieve great change in Australia and around the world.
Sante – supporting fellow farmers in Zambia
Sante Banda, a farmer from Zambia, volunteers so much that it is a full time job. He assists nine saving groups of 15 to 20 members each, helping the groups run smoothly and that the members have successful businesses. One group is an hour away from his house so it is quite a commitment to walk there.
World Vision Zambia gives Sante special training to help him in business – only successful farmers can effectively mentor others. World Vision Zambia assistance has helped Sante get into the lucrative peanut seed business. Sante’s seed peanuts fetch at least double the price of normal peanuts and in effect fund his volunteer spirit. Since Sante is a superstar as a volunteer, and speaks English well, World Vision Australia called him on his mobile to thank him for doing such a great job. Sante, for his part, also thanked World Vision for the training and getting him into the agricultural seed business.
Brooke – inspiring, educating and empowering with VGen in Australia
“I’ve been in VGen for about eight years. I joined following the 40 Hour Famine back in 2008. I volunteer with VGen because it gives me the opportunity to be inspired and empowered by the power of young people to create social change. Its these influences at a local level that see ripples of change at a national and international level; achieving our hope for a world that is fair and equal for all.
I am most proud of the amount of influence I have had with my time in VGen. I have had a lot of highs and a lot of lows, and that comes with advocacy and campaigning, however it’s seeing something you’ve worked so hard on actually coming together. The biggest changes I’ve seen happen in my time vary but the first couple that come to mind would be the G20 win, that saw us nationally campaign through our local MP’s with a final push from the national team to get Child Labour on the G20 Agenda, the three day World Vision Youth Conference Road show we did to meet students attending a World Vision leadership conference across the east coast of Queensland, and finally being a part of getting Kimberly College to become Fairtrade Certified and what that meant for our #EndChildLabour Campaign.
Isabel – providing essential health and nutrition support for mums in Timor Leste
Isabel Dos Reis is one of those amazing volunteers who assists other members of her community in Timor Leste out of kindness and compassion. Isabel is a member of a farmers group and leads the savings and loan group. Both groups help poor farmers improve their circumstances by empowering them with valuable skills and knowledge.
Isabel is climbing out of poverty herself and assisting others to do it as well. Isabel spend another eight hours each week as a health volunteer, assisting young mothers in maternal and child health and education about good nutrition. They are not easy visits. Home visits are where the action is in community health – and they aren’t always easy. They require tact and excellent people skills. Fortunately, Isabel might be a tiny woman but she has a big heart. World Vision has provided her with ducks to raise to help augment her income and supply some of the gap that she loses by being a health volunteer. She’s also joining a new project called “Better Food and Better Health”, where mothers grow sweet potatoes and soybeans to feed their children.
Elsie – Community Health Volunteer, Papua New Guinea.
Elsie is a Community Health Volunteer. She’s been trained by World Vision to build awareness in her community about different health risks and the services World Vision is offering to combat them. Having lived in the community for over 20 years, she’s well trusted
by her neighbours. She plays an important role in helping people understand what World Vision is trying to do, and building trust. World Vision has sponsored her to go through formal health training. She’s passionate about playing her part to make a difference for her
Elsie is part of a World Vision Papua New Guinea Health and Nutrition Project, funded by the Australian government. The project aims to improve community health and nutrition and reduce incidences of HIV and other illnesses. It focuses on community awareness and education, created through events, outreach and support for trained Community Health Resource Persons, like Elsie.
Community Health Resource Persons like Elsie are integral to the project. She helps conduct household visits, counselling and community awareness sessions to improve health in her local community.
This work covers activities such as pregnancy care, antenatal visits, nutrition, awareness and treatment for infectious illnesses, and essential newborn care including immunisation. Elsie and the other volunteers are also able to refer patients to health services, increasing patient access to testing and treatment for diseases including HIV and STD’s.
“I have a big heart for this community. And that is the reason why I have been sticking to World Vision, whenever projects came up I was always there. Because I’ve been living in this community for twenty years now, I can see there is a lot of need in this community and what World Vision has done for, especially the health project and the education project, I’m really thankful for what they are doing.”