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Awareness Days

Volunteers build resilient communities

International Volunteer Day is a time to recognise the contributions of people who have helped build communities resilient to natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks around the world.

Since we began in 2003, we’ve been determined to help young people break out of the cycles of poverty. Over time, we have developed this goal  to focus on building the capacity and influence of young people both in Australia and overseas.

Our work cannot be done without the support and hard work of our volunteers in all around the country and our teamwork with our partner organisations in Cambodia and Timor-Leste. Just one of the many projects we’ve supported has given 164 families of scholars in Cambodia livelihood support since 2015!

On their recent visit to our partners in Cambodia, volunteers Edie and Rebecca - along with Head of International Engagement, Christine - saw how much these communities have developed through their involvement with partner programs.

“GEI girls who received scholarships and have completed university now are returning to their community as teachers to share their knowledge, even using their own money to buy supplies for the poorer students because they want to pay it forward to girls who needed assistance like they did,” says Edie.

“People here have the ability to continue helping their community, but they have structural factors holding them back. Our work has been able to fund the initial infrastructure and information they needed to get their projects started but they are the ones keeping it going. It’s very cyclical.”

In Timor-Leste, Oaktree’s partner projects have helped train teachers in communities, ensuring the benefits of the program go on to develop the children in the community for years to come.

“Ba Futuru’s presence is really important. It’s similar to gold falling on us,”  says teacher Manuel Viegas from Quelicai Secondary School on the success of Oaktree funded teacher training programs.

Beyond creating resilient communities in Cambodia and Timor-Leste, we’re also building up our communities in Australia. Oaktree is constituted by young volunteers. By learning how to operate the organisation, we’ve provided our volunteers with valuable work-life skills and experiences for the next next stages of their career. Many of our volunteer alumni have gone on to make a continued impact in their communities (our founder has even gone on to create The Global Poverty Project to increase awareness of and action towards fighting extreme poverty).

Additionally, our Campaigners for Change and Student Ambassadors learn skills in project management, teamwork, and communication, as well as everything from media pitching to lobbying local politicians. By fostering these skills in campaigners while they’re young, we’re providing them with the skills they’ll need to contribute to their communities as they get older.

Oaktree volunteers have also helped to share resources about how to get involved in elections, bringing young people together to raise money and awareness for the eradication of extreme poverty in our region.

Sounds like something you need to be a part of? Sign up to stay updated on our international youth empowerment work and education projects.