Monday December 5, 2011
Australian Volunteer Tim Allen is working with Red Cross in Mongolia to help ensure that relief supplies are available during a harsh winter. Photo: Courtesy Tim Allan
From Mongolia's snowbound city of Ulaanbaatar to the Filipino metropolis of Manila, Australian volunteers are working with Red Cross to support communities around the world this International Volunteer Day (5 December 2011).
Australian Red Cross began sending volunteers on overseas assignments for the first time ever this year. We currently have people posted across Asia, the Pacific and Africa under the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, an Australian Government AusAID initiative.
Available for interviews around International Volunteer Day are volunteers from NSW, Victoria, NT and WA:
- Tim Allan, from Sydney, is volunteering with Mongolian Red Cross in disaster management. He is working with the local Red Cross on preparedness and response in the event of a natural disaster. Tim has provided logistics support in a number of disaster emergency responses, including for the United Nations, in countries such as Myanmar, Philippines, Indonesia and Pakistan.
- Danielle Parry is volunteering in Dili, Timor Leste. The broadcast journalist is originally from Wollongong but has worked all over Australia for the ABC, most recently Perth and Darwin. She has taken a year off to coach, advise and strengthen the East Timor Red Cross' communications team. Danielle is helping the team improve their writing skills and their ability to advocate on behalf of vulnerable people in East Timor.
- David Field, a surf lifesaver from Kingscliff, NSW, is getting his feet wet in the Philippines where he's helping the local Red Cross to set up a surf lifesaving service. The service will be trialled in Boracay - a tourist hotspot that sees many swimming and water safety accidents each year - and rolled out to other parts of the country. David, a teacher by trade, is an active member of Surf Lifesaving Australia and has helped to establish similar services in Thailand. He is also helping Philippines Red Cross to develop water safety manuals and materials and improve its lifeguard training courses.
- Terri Fallows, from Frankston, Victoria, is volunteering in Mongolia teaching English to local Red Cross staff and volunteers. She is currently working in a remote region, where there is a small Red Cross branch office, which supports local communities with high needs - it's an area where herders still live in traditional Gers or Yurts. English skills are important because Mongolian Red Cross relies on international donations to support its vital programs.
- Matt Allen, a senior manager from Melbourne, is volunteering with the Philippines Red Cross. Based in Manila, he is helping the society with its organisational restructure, and is also revitalising its Board and HR activities. Matt, who has taken a year off from his job in Australia, has a keen interest in volunteering and previously volunteered in South America and Africa.
'These are everyday Australians who have decided to leave behind friends and family, and move thousands of miles from home, to support Australia's aid program,' said Australian Red Cross spokesperson Zayne D'Crus. 'Volunteering is likely to be one of the toughest jobs you will ever have, but - immersed in a culture and community and seeing the impact of your work on real lives - it might just also be one of the most rewarding.
'From helping people in Kenya to recover from trauma and disaster to ensuring that relief supplies can reach communities in the midst of a harsh Mongolian winter, Australian Volunteers and their local colleagues assist people to overcome vulnerable situations and live safer, healthier lives,' he said.
Assignments range from three months to two years and volunteers are supported with airfares, accommodation, living allowances and other services. Red Cross is often looking to recruit volunteers with backgrounds in HR, finance, marketing, communications, emergency services, social work and the environment.
Australian Red Cross is part of the world's largest humanitarian organisation. Red Cross works to prevent and reduce human suffering, wherever it is found, guided by the principles of humanity, neutrality and independence. For more information and current vacancies visit www.ausaid.gov.au/volunteer, or call Red Cross on (03) 9345 1834 about upcoming roles.
For media enquiries or to arrange interviews contact Red Cross media adviser Kim Batchelor on 0457 542 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.