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- Australian Volunteers International celebrates 60 years of volunteering
Australian Volunteers International celebrates 60 years of volunteering
16 June 2011
16 June 2011 marks the occasion of Australia’s first official international volunteer, Herb Feith, setting sail from Port Melbourne to start his volunteer assignment in Indonesia.
This pioneering journey, undertaken 60 years ago, was the inspiration behind the creation of the Volunteer Graduate Scheme and the Overseas Services Bureau, now known as Australian Volunteers International (AVI), the world’s first international volunteer sending organisation. This legacy supports Australia’s efforts to be at the forefront of building international relationships, people-centred development, soft diplomacy and global citizenship.
In his role as a civil servant within the English language division of Indonesia’s Ministry of Information, it was Herb’s intention to live, work and learn alongside the people of Indonesia and respond their needs.
AVI CEO, Dimity Fifer, said Herb’s legacy has inspired a future generation of volunteering.
“Herb’s sense of equality, mutual respect and working in partnership with communities remains at the heart of every AVI volunteer assignment to this day,” she said.
“In 1951, this was considered a radical idea by both Australians and Indonesians. Today, we are proud that these principles of people-centred development continue to inspire Australians to volunteer overseas.
Since Herb’s first volunteer assignment in Indonesia, more than 10,000 Australians have worked with 2,500 of AVI’s overseas partner organisations in Asia, the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
“Over the last six decades, AVI’s volunteers have come from thousands of Australian communities, a range of age groups and a wide variety of professions to live, work and learn with communities in over 80 countries around the globe,” Ms Fifer said.
“Working alongside communities these volunteers have supported positive change around the globe. Their achievements include:
- Assisting in the drafting of Swaziland’s first Child Protection and Welfare Bill 2008
- Developing Fiji’s first Sign Language Dictionary
- Establishing Nino Konis Santana, Timor-Leste’s first national park
- Training the first Hamlin College of Midwifery graduates in Ethiopia"
Click here for details on AVI's 60 years of celebration events or learn more about the life and work of Herb Feith.
To find out how you can be a volunteer or for more information on AVI’s 60 year celebrations subscribe to our free e-newsletter AVI Plus.
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For more information or to organise an interview or photo opportunity contact:
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