A heartfelt thank you from our partners

Our valued partner organisations around the world share their messages of thanks for the volunteers who have supported their work.

For International Volunteer Day 2020, we asked our partners to tell us what they were most grateful for about the Australian volunteers who have helped them to achieve their goals - both in-person and from Australia. Here are their messages and photos.

Swim Vietnam team
The team at Swim Vietnam in Hoi An. Supplied: Swim Vietnam

‘Thank you Tanya and David from all the teachers at Swim Vietnam for your contributions to our drowning prevention program. 

‘About 28,000 children have been taught free swimming lessons, more than 59,000 children have been educated in water safety knowledge and more than 1,300 teachers have been trained to become swimming instructors.

‘Every gift matters, especially yours, as we work every day to ensure a brighter future for our community. Thank you!’

The team at the Independent Water Schemes Association, Samoa. Supplied: IWSA

'Talofa lava, on behalf of the Independent Water Schemes Association board and members, I would like to convey our sincere thanks and gratitude to the Australian Volunteers Program for their continuous support over the years. Australian volunteers have very much been a part of our journey and have helped steer this organisation to where it is now. 

'We have had the pleasure of working with Mark for the past year through both in-country and remote volunteering. Faafetai tele Mark for your unwavering support and commitment ensuring IWSA is well equipped in assisting rural communities sustainably manage their own water resources and networks.'

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Colleagues at the Umnogobi Polytechnic College in Mongolia. Supplied: Umnogobi Polytechnic College

Thank you Kernah for coming to Mongolia, especially in Umnugobi.

‘Your contribution to developing the capacity of our English teachers and training other staff made a change to their learning and teaching perspective. We received a lot of positive comments from students about how you interacted with them and kept their interest with the activities and fun times you organised. We had a great time together. We miss you, and are always reminded of your kindness and perseverance.’

Australian volunteer Linda (left) with colleagues at her farewell party at Thabyay Education Foundation in Yangon, Myanmar. Supplied: Thabyay Education Foundation

‘Thank you Linda for mentoring our staff and taking the lead in developing the Thabyay e-learning platform and style guide. Of course we are missing you! Your smiles, friendship and collegial spirit remain in the hearts of the Thabyay family.’

Jane Lee + K4L Staff
The team at Kick 4 Life, Lesotho, Southern Africa. Supplied: Kick 4 Life

‘Today, Kick 4 Life reflects on the special support Australian volunteers Lee and Jane provided us. 

‘Lee approached his capacity building role with great care, respect and openness. For these reasons, his influence extended far beyond developing the finance department.

‘We continue to build on the work Lee did in improving our financial and social enterprise management and reporting systems. Ensuring the health of these operations is critical; they enable us to grow our football and life skills programming for deserving youth in Lesotho.  

‘Jane also became an important friend and mentor to Kick4Life’s people and we’re grateful for the genuine care she had for our collective wellbeing. She made Fridays extra special and never ceased to delight when she surprised the office with treats and games. These moments presented important reminders to find joy and balance in what we do.

‘They’ve left a lasting impression. Thank you for everything, Lee and Jane!’

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The team at LP2M in Padang, West Sumatra, Indonesia. Supplied: LP2M

‘Thank you Lizzie! We really appreciate your support to increase the knowledge and skills for us and the women weaving group to develop creative products.

‘We also value your tenacity to promote and open the market to the world level.

‘Many thanks Lizzie from us at LP2M in Padang, West Sumatra!’

Colleagues at the Tuvalu Association of NGOs (TANGO). Supplied: TANGO

‘Our heartfelt thanks to Tuimalae Henry and Tulua Finikaso for your time carrying out activities for the Tuvalu Association of NGOs. Also for all the efforts and work you have put into the awareness raising of the banning of single used plastic in Tuvalu.

‘The activities you are part of will encourage a plastic free Tuvalu and bring us a step closer to building the country’s resilience against the impacts of climate change.'

Welcome Home foundation
The Welcome Home Foundation team in Bacolod City, Philippines. Supplied: Welcome Home Foundation

‘Thank you Jill from all of your friends at the Welcome Home foundation! Your 10-month volunteer work with us has helped deaf children learn how to use their voices to communicate.  

‘Thank you for sharing your skills with the teachers - this has greatly enhanced our total communication approach in teaching the children.  We, your WH-ERC family – staff, teachers, students and their parents, love you dearly. Happy International Volunteer Day!’

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Australian volunteer Ellen (second from left) with colleagues at the Alola Foundation, Timor-Leste. Supplied: Alola Foundation

‘Thank you mana Ellen for your dedication to the Alola Foundation and to improving the lives of women and children in Timor-Leste.  We have worked together, whether you were in Dili or Australia. We have strengthened our capacity, overcome many obstacles, and grown with each other. Happy International Volunteer Day!’

Staff at the Chuuk Women's Council, Chuuk State, Federated States of Micronesia. Supplied: Chuuk Women's Council

‘The Chuuk Women's Council extends our most heartfelt ‘kinisou chapur’ and sincere appreciation to Jaclyn. Her support and help with our community outreach and advocacy, including health prevention promotion and gender mainstreaming within policy and programs, has made a big impact in our programs.   

‘We also want to recognise our finance advisor and mentor, Gary, who provided guidance on the implementation and use of QuickBooks and upgraded our budgeting system. The financial training Gary provided is reflected in our reports to our partners and donors.

'Thank you Jaclyn and Gary for all your contributions to our organisation and the people of Chuuk State.  You have left your own footprints here with us.’

The team at the Disaster Risk Management Department, NEMA with Australian volunteer Madelyn (middle). Supplied: NEMA

‘Dear Madelyn, thank for your important contribution and your precious time to provide your volunteer service to the Disaster Risk Management Department, NEMA. Your knowledge and expertise benefited our officers, and we wanted to let you know what an outstanding job you did while you were here in Mongolia. 

‘We always miss your presence, and without your valuable contribution the research we are working on would not have been completed.

‘We will always remember you dear Maddy!’

Photo with Maureen
The team at the Ministry of Meteorology, Energy, Information, Disaster Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications (MEIDECC) in Tonga, with Australian volunteer Maureen (bottom right). Supplied: MEIDECC

‘To Maureen, A big malo ‘aupito for your dedication to helping the Disaster Management Department of Vava’u island and the National Emergency Management Office during your assignment with us. 

‘In the past 18 months, you have inspired community awareness programs, the formulation of response plans, active school visits and sought two successful funding proposals for disaster management activities.  

‘These are major achievements in a short time for our communities. Increasing disaster awareness in children and young people will bring benefits to their homes, schools and communities in the long run.  

While we are facing unusual circumstances because of the COVID-19 outbreak, we cannot thank you enough for your great efforts, commitment and care for our communities.

We express our most sincere gratitude and we are missing your smiling face.’

The team at the Girls Livelihood and Mentorship Initiative, part of Africaid Tanzania. Supplied: GLAMI

‘Thank you, Fiona, from all your friends at GLAMI/AfricAid. Since you joined the organisation, you have done an incredible job from grant related matters to all other assignments that were not in your job description. 

‘Because of your helping heart and willingness to share your knowledge, mentors are now great communicators through blogs, reports and emails. Your generous support even after the end of your assignment remains remarkable to us. Happy International Volunteer Day Fifi Gogo!'

Small holder farmers who are part of Tanna Coffee, Vanuatu. Supplied: Tanna Coffee

‘The entire Tanna Coffee team along with more than 1,000 small-holder farmers, their families and associated communities, would like to sincerely thank both the Australian Government and the Australian Volunteers Program for providing our recent volunteers Helen, Frank and Sue.

‘Their hard work, dedication, technical advice, support and personal friendship has been sorely missed during these COVID-19 hard-times of 2020.’

Colleagues at Youth Off the Streets, Timor-Leste. Supplied: YOTS

Dear Matt, from the first time you met our team and young people you made time and effort to build lasting and meaningful friendships. These positive friendships underpinned 18 months of growth, transformation and empowerment for everyone who engaged in our programs. 

‘Your contributions to our programs, through mentoring and capacity building, have ensured we are able to understand the impacts of our work on young people while delivering quality programs by a skilled team. We are so grateful for everything you have shared with us and we hope to see you again soon. We miss you!'

The team at SEAMEO CED in Laos. Supplied: SEAMEO CED

‘On behalf of the SEAMEO CED family, we would like to take this opportunity to say thank you very much Dr. Tran Tran for your work with us.

‘We achieved a number of significant milestones with your support. You supported our staff in several areas of work, including administration skills, research analysis and training skills. In addition, you shared with us a diverse cultural perspective and you assimilated with Laos culture while you were here. 

We wish you success in all of your targets and overcoming obstacles!’

Umnogobic Polytechnic
Colleagues at the Umnogobi Polytechnic College in Mongolia. Supplied: Umnogobi Polytechnic College

'Thank you Leonie for working with us and being a good advisor. We learned a lot from you and shared good memories. 

Because of your support, we have been able to improve college operation and management. Your help in forming the Student’s Service Department has resulted in an improved and integrated service for students. 

The quality management team was also formed by your advice and held regular meetings to monitor school operations, which helped in implementing performance-based assessments for teachers and staff. 

We miss you, especially your laughter and your joyfulness!’

Remote Australian volunteers supporting the Solomon Islands Sports and Leadership Institute remotely. Supplied: Solomon Islands Sports and Leadership Institute

‘A big halo olketa to Will, Josiah, Kristy, Ashleigh, Lara, Emily, Iona and John from us all at the High Performance program for the Sol2023 Pacific Games.

‘Whether it was your short time in Honiara, or volunteering remotely from Australia, your amazing contributions and support have made an impact on us all.

‘The immediate effect and success across many areas of our sport programs added great value to the coaches and athletes. We are very grateful and appreciate you being part of the sport family in Solomon Islands. Happy International Volunteer Day!’ 

Malamulele Onward
Colleagues at Malamulele Onward, with Australian volunteer Andrew (far right) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Supplied: Malamulele Onward

‘Thank you Andrew. Words cannot express our appreciation for the work you have done to help Malamulele Onward to continue to improve the quality of life of children with cerebral palsy.  

‘You worked very hard to raise resources for the organisation, and because of your efforts the organisation now has sufficient funding to carry on with our parent-led services program. 

‘You always went beyond your role description and focused on assisting the organisation as a whole to achieve its mission, vision and objectives.

‘We are indeed missing you a lot. You will never be forgotten!’               

Australian volunteer Mike (right) with a colleague at the Royal Institute of Management in Bhutan. Supplied: Royal Institute of Management

‘Thank you Mike, from all of us at the Royal Institute of Management (RIM). Your two years of service at the RIM has immensely contributed to the capacity development of public service in Bhutan and touched hearts and minds of many Bhutanese. 

‘In particular, your support and collaborative effort in research capacity development has been commendable. We wish you Happy International Volunteer Day and a happy life ahead!’

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Australian volunteer Marguerite (left) with colleagues at the Eye Care Foundation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo: Harjono Djoyobisono

‘A big thank you to Marguerite from the Cambodian Eye Care Foundation family: Sambath, Piseth and Somuny. 

‘Over the last 18 months, Marguerite Goulding has made a significant contribution to our projects through her volunteer assignment as program development mentor. 

‘She immersed herself in Khmer culture and traditions, and developed valuable relationships with our partners - particularly Professor Ngy Meng and Professor Do Seiha - Cambodia's leading eye health specialists.

‘Marguerite's 'skills-sharing' approach has resulted in capacity-building not only for staff in the Cambodia office but ECF's teams in other countries, including our head office in Amsterdam.

Thank you so much sister!’

Colleagues at the Local Government Unit Canaman, Camarines Sur, Philippines. Supplied: LGU-Canaman

‘Shout-out to Bala from your teammates here at LGU-Canaman! Amidst the many challenges, our efforts for the past 18 months have undoubtedly laid a strong foundation for the municipality’s Information Communication and Technology (ICT) programs. 

‘The plan we made has influenced the budget, the citizens charter has been updated and enhanced, our ICT focal person has been appointed in an IT position, our level of ICT technical understanding and skill sets have improved, the identified initial programs are already being implemented and we are gradually integrating the policies we crafted into the LGU rules. 

‘We cannot thank you enough for all your patience, determination, assistance and friendship (and biryani!).'

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The team at Touching the Untouchables, Goroka, Papua New Guinea. Supplied: TTU

‘Volunteers have helped us at Touching the Untouchables in the areas of finance, administration, HR policies and project management.

‘Thanks to the contribution of Australian volunteers, we have promoted menstrual hygiene management in schools, which has led to more girls enrolling in school and higher academic performances amongst girls in schools. 

‘We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to all the Australians who have volunteered with us from 2014 to 2020.’

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Colleagues at the Foundation for Tomorrow, Arusha, Tanzania. Supplied: FFT

‘Selfless contributions are the best and greatest assets of our society! You have a big heart Pippa and your participation and contribution to The Foundation for Tomorrow proves this!'

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The team at HIAM Health with Australian volunteers Annamarie and Michelle (with Australian Volunteers t-shirts). Photo: Harjono Djoyobisono

HIAM Health would like to offer our gratitude to all the Australian volunteers who have worked with us during the establishment of HIAM Health in 2005 until now, and who have helped carry out and promote HIAM Health programs and activities. 

‘A special thank you goes to Annamarie who last year and earlier this year collaborated with us to increase our communication activities. 

‘With the help of Annamarie, HIAM Health has now reached more than 11,000 Facebook views and nearly 3,000 people have followed HIAM Health on Facebook and Twitter. 

We really appreciate the volunteers who devote their time and leave their families to come to Timor-Leste. Obrigado Barak!’

Claire J Cowman
Australian volunteer Claire, who volunteered with the Pandita Development Institute in Yangon, Myanmar. Supplied: Pandita Development Institute

‘Thank you very much, Claire, for your support while Pandita was improving the communication and partnership development process. Your experience and organisational skills really made a difference in how quickly we were able to engage different international stakeholders, including those from Australia!’