International volunteer Kelly Warner with Maria*, a client at a trauma recovery centre in Timor-Leste. *Name has been changed. Photo: Australian Red Cross/Conor Ashleigh
Red Cross sends volunteers overseas under the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, an Australian Government initiative. By offering skilled volunteers to our partner organisations in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, we aim to help people prepare for natural disasters, access quality education and health services, live free from violence and participate in society.
This year saw international volunteers lead some impressive achievements. In the Philippines, a disaster management plan helped the San Juan foreshore to be evacuated before Typhoon Haiyan struck, saving hundreds of lives. In Cambodia, a women’s health service upgraded its infection control systems, significantly improving care for mothers and their children. In Bhutan and Kenya, three schools developed personalised education plans to help children with disabilities achieve their full potential.
This year we commissioned research which found that international volunteering can strengthen and increase local volunteering within host communities, and that it provides the foundation for a lasting exchange of skills. The research report is available at redcross.org.au/volunteeroverseas.