International volunteering counts!

To celebrate International Volunteer Day on Wednesday 5 December 2018, we wanted to tell the world about the amazing impact of international volunteering. We asked our volunteers in 26 countries across the Indo-Pacific region to send us photos of themselves with a sign showing the number of days they have been on assignment.

From Tanzania to Fiji, and everywhere in between, the response was overwhelming. See for yourself the incredible range of people, places, and the length of time our volunteers have been a part of the Australian Volunteers Program – not to mention their creativity!

You may have seen some of the photos on our Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts.

Tanzania vols
Australian volunteers based throughout Tanzania came together to celebrate the number of days they have been volunteering! They came together from Dar es Salaam, Moshi, Arusha and Mweka.
Pic Marion Leger International Volunteer Day
‘As I work in the tourism industry, I've decided to be a bit creative. A dive master took this picture for me - at an underwater post office located very close to Port Vila on Hideaway Island!’ – Marion Leger, volunteer Research and Market Data Officer.
Raina Tonga
Australian volunteer Raina Reyes is a volunteer occupational therapist trainer for an early intervention program in Tonga. She says: ‘in this photo, our case manager Many and child child development workers, Mele and Rowland, are about to conduct a home visit to see one of our clients who lives on the island of Siasiav - only accessible by crossing a river on foot. We made the signs we are holding with the help of the children we work with, who are ages 0-4 with a variety of developmental disabilities.’
Krystelle and Talweez Samoa
Australian volunteers Talweez and Krystelle in their beautiful backyard in Samoa. Krystelle Syme is a volunteer emergency medical services advisor at the Samoa Fire and Emergency Services Authority and Talweez Kaur Senghera volunteers as research revelopment trainer with the Samoa Umbrella for Non-Governmental Organisations.
Anissa Eswatini
‘I’m developing a curriculum for the Gone Rural weaving academy and tuning a creative program with 12 master weavers here in eSwatini.’ – Anissa Dove, with master weavers (left to right) Happy Ginah, Sibongile Mngometulu and Tholakele Ginah.
Danielle and Hugh Bhutan
‘We're returning home soon, together with our two daughters, having spent 13 wonderful months in this magical kingdom. This photograph was taken after Hugh and I had tea with the Royal Civil Service Commission of the Royal Government of Bhutan who sincerely thanked the Australian Government for our service.’ – Danielle Cole and Hugh Stahel, 396 days volunteering in Bhutan.
‘I'm volunteering in the Sanon Training restaurant in Bagan, Myanmar. I teach hospitality English and develop Sanon's English language curriculum. The Sanon Training Restaurant is operated by the Myanmar Youth Development Institute (MYDI). The project trains disadvantaged youth in hospitality and English, finds them employment and monitors them for two years to assist them to have a successful career in the hospitality and tourism industries. I am outside the restaurant with some of the students, trainers and the project leader.’ – Ann Le Marseny.
Rachel Brindal
Australian volunteer Rachel Brindal is a deaf education teacher trainer at Wangsel Institute. She says: ‘my colleagues joined me to share that I have volunteered in Bhutan for 937 days. My colleagues are using their first language - Bhutanese Sign Language - to sign the number they are showing on the blackboards. In the background is Mt Jomolhari (7,320m), the second highest mountain in Bhutan.’
Elise Vietnam2
Australian volunteer Elsie Giles says: ‘as the sun reflected off the water from the rice terraces and my eyes got lost in the mountain surrounds, I could only think this was just like a post I was liking on Facebook. However, this is actually my life as an Australian volunteer living in Vietnam. While working hard during the week, I treated myself to a weekend away visiting Sa Pa and its surrounds.’
Naomi Diplock Bhutan
Dr Naomi Diplock is volunteer mycology advisor with the National Mushroom Centre in #Bhutan. Her project involves working with staff at the centre and visiting farms across the country, improving mushroom spawn quality and mushroom production.
Ashly tralac 1
Australian volunteer research coordinator Ashly Hope: ‘here I am in sunny Cape Town with two intern colleagues - Anthony and Obert - from Trade Law Centre South Africa (TRALAC).’
Bronwyn Thompson Tonga2
Australian volunteer Bronwyn Thompson (left) with her colleague Nunia Latu. Bronwyn says: ‘I am volunteering in the Ministry of Health in Tonga working with the environmental health officers.’
Julie McLaren Sols
Australian volunteer Julie McLaren is volunteering with Guadalcanal Education Authority in Solomon Islands. Her assignment involves building teacher capacity in Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
Rani Pather Sri Lanka
‘I’m a volunteer English Teacher Trainer in the town of Batticaloa, Eastern Province, Sri Lanka, with my spouse. Batticaloa is a fishing village that was devastated by the 2004 Tsunami. Behind us is the infamous lagoon over which the monumental waves came flooding, destroying thousands of homes, displacing hundreds of families, with a huge loss of life. Daily, you meet folk, still suffering the trauma of death and destruction.’ – Rani Pather.
Sara Young Fiji
‘I'm an occupational therapist based in Northern Fiji, at the Labasa Hospital Stress Management Ward. I volunteer with staff and patients to improve mental health and occupational therapy services. Here I am with my colleagues: staff nurse Latileta, psychiatric registrar Dr Fatima, Nurse Unit Manager Shoma, and staff nurse Nicholas, who are part of our 10-person mental health team.’ – Sara Young.
Friends International Renay and Corey
Australian volunteers Renay Farrell and Corey Indian in Cambodia. Renay is a business project coordinator for ChildSafe - a global program run by Friends International. The campaign provides child-protection resources to businesses and communities around the world so that children are protected in all aspects of their lives.' Corey is a business developer for Friends'N'Stuff, which pioneered up-cycling in Cambodia and a brand that continues to create a positive social impact.
Michael Parsons Vietnam
‘From my passport entries, I calculated I have been on back-to-back assignments in Vietnam as an Australian volunteer since 2011 for 1,400 days! Here I am with Tăng Thế Cường, Head of the Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s Climate Change Department, Vice-Minister Lê Công Thành and Lê Ngọc Tuấn, Deputy Director General of the Ministry’s International Cooperation Department.’ – Michael Parsons, volunteer policy advisor.
Pamela Whitman volunteer committment to Africa
‘I have had many assignments starting in Mozambique in 2006, and have volunteered with the Australian Volunteers Program in South Africa, Tanzania, and Kenya. I am an organisational psychologist and have focused on staff development in NGOs in Africa. This is me with some colleagues at AfricAid in Tanzania. They are mentors and work with school girls on life skills and leadership programs in the Kilimanjaro region.’ – Pamela, with colleagues (left to right) Lightness, Pamela, Verynice, Sarafina, Agatha, Ndiini, and Violeth.
Paul Ashe
Australian volunteer Paul Ashe, a mentor in monitoring, evaluation and planning Timor-Leste with PRADET (Psychosocial Recovery and Development East Timor). He’s with his colleagues in Dili (left to right): Anita De J Menezes, Herculano Grenadiero, Paul and Manuel dos Santos.
Jess Wright Sols
‘My colleagues in Solomon Islands have really embraced me into their team. We have been planning how best to use technology to get quality teaching and learning resources where they're most needed. I'm here with my team members front to back: Jess, Susie, Elsie, Judith, Anita, John, George and Colley.’ – Jessica Wright.
Greg Cansdale
Greg Cansdale is volunteering as organisational development advisor with the Southeast Asia Development Program, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Mia Mongolia
‘These two ladies and I have been with each other from day one and it's a crazy feeling standing here at 89 days, finally experiencing the wild winter of Mongolia that everyone warned us about.’ – Australian volunteer Mia Bates.
Nancy Vietnam
Nancy Zhou is an Australian volunteer social media and website officer at the Vietnamese Women's Museum in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Photo Jerome Fakhry
Australian volunteer Communications and Policy Advisor Jerome Fakhry, 381 days supporting the sustainable development of Cambodian cities.
Glorianne Indonesia
Glorianne Camilleri volunteers in Bogor, Indonesia, with Nusantara Indigenous Coffee - an organisation that works towards the empowerment of Indigenous communities and their economic independence. Here Glorianne is with her two colleagues at their coffee shop. She says: ‘I work with an awesome team at Nusantara Indigenous Coffee to develop strategy for marketing coffee grown by small-hold Indigenous farmers in Indonesia to help develop their communities.’
Ailee Sumatra
At Sumatran Sea Turtle Conservation in Sumatra, Indonesia, Australian volunteer Ailee Ashton is sharing knowledge in turtle nest protection with Sari, one of the students visiting from Universitas Andalas.
Scott Fiji
Australian volunteer Information Management Mentor Scott Sheridan says: ‘we love hanging with volunteers from other countries in our town of Labasa in Vanua Levu, Fiji, where our small community of volunteers strive to have a big impact.'
Laura Mongolia
Australian volunteer Laura Richards says: ‘A photo from chilly Mongolia for the International Volunteer Day photo mission. The photo contains fellow volunteer Elaine Ung (left) and myself, with a Chinggis Khan statue in the background, at Sukhbaatar Square in Ulaanbaatar.
Lesley Vick
Australian volunteer Lesley Vick with her colleagues at Greenovator in Yangon, Myanmar.
Kristen Wylder Myanmar
Australian volunteer Kristen Wylder outside the Myanmar Parliament (Hluttaw), where she works on Human Resource Management.
Vols Mongolia
Australian volunteers huddle together in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
Mish Samoa
Australian volunteer Mish Graham in Samoa. Mish is volunteering as deaf employment skills advisor in Apia.