Page 42

The

best job fort he world

We can spend our entire careers looking for genuine job satisfaction – a job where our contribution is valued, our colleagues become friends, and each day offers us new adventures. For some people, the search leads to some of the world’s most challenging and resource-poor environments. And, unlike the pay, the rewards are immense.

Each year almost a thousand Australians head overseas as part of Australian Volunteers for International Development (AVID), a program managed by the Australian Government’s overseas aid agency AusAID. From Bangladesh to Botswana, Vietnam to Vanuatu, they volunteer in humanitarian organisations, government departments, health services and grassroots community groups dedicated to social change. Most are highly-skilled professionals: accountants, lawyers, managers, nurses, marketers and engineers.

4 0  THE

AVID volunteer Danielle Parry and her colleague Alau examine aTimor-Leste Red Cross vehicle before a field trip. Photo:Susan Slattery/Australian Red Cross.

So what would make someone put a highpaying job on hold, put the house up for rent or give up a relaxing retirement and head off to work on an island in the Philippines or a remote Kenyan town? As it turns out, the reasons are as diverse as the volunteers themselves. David and Meredith Hatherly were enjoying an active retirement in Canberra – the kind that includes bushwalking, Irish dancing and organic gardening – when they heard that Australian Red Cross was recruiting volunteers for the AVID program. As long-term Red Cross volunteers in Canberra, they were excited at the chance to support the work of Red Cross overseas. A few months later David was headed to Kenya, at the tail end of the worst drought to hit East Africa in over 60 years. Kenya Red Cross was already active in distributing food and emergency supplies in some of the hardest-hit

L A S T P O S T   A U T U M N / A N Z A C DAY 2 0 1 2

by Zayne D’Crus

areas, and helping farming communities to recover and plant new crops. Based in the Nakuru branch of Kenya Red Cross, David’s role was to help institute systems and processes to effectively manage thousands of local Red Cross volunteers. Using the skills gained in his career as an IT lecturer at Charles Sturt University, he created a simple online registration system that enables volunteers to update their details and Red Cross staff to search for volunteers based on their skill profile or interests. Meanwhile Meredith, who had accompanied David to Kenya with no assignment of her own, found a way to put her gardening experience to good use. She is helping Kenyan volunteers to set up a greenhouse and an organic garden,

Profile for The Last Post Magazine

The Last Post magazine - Autumn 2012 - Anzac Day Special  

The Last Post magazine - Autumn 2012 - Anzac Day Special

The Last Post magazine - Autumn 2012 - Anzac Day Special  

The Last Post magazine - Autumn 2012 - Anzac Day Special

Advertisement