“I always knew that I wanted to work in the charity sector”
Growing up I never saw myself in the corporate world. I hated the idea of working endless hours to make some guy or some company rich. If I was going to be joining the rest of the world and working a 9-5 job, then I wanted my time and effort to go into something that truly made a difference. I wanted my hard work to go towards improving the lives of others.
When I was 14 I heard my mum talking about something called the ‘pencil project’. Being a curious teenager, always wanting to know what was going on, I immediately insisted that she tell me more about it.
The Pencil Project (a campaign that is still running today), encourages schools, groups, companies, individuals, to either sponsor or collect a drum of pencils to meet the needs of children in Africa. If you think about it, pencils are seemingly insignificant, yet they play a vital role in ones learning process. I couldn’t bear the thought of children going to school without pencils, especially not having the luxury of coloured pencils, etc. So there I was, within one minute of hearing about this project, sitting on the floor of my room emptying out my pencil case.
Sadly, I only had about ten pencils and I remember thinking, this just isn’t enough! So I got on the phone, called my cousins (who lived nearby), explained the project to them and asked them to give me as many of their pencils as they could.
At the same time, I had just started working my first part time job as a pharmacy assistant. So one night at work, I took it upon myself to put a basket at the front counter with a sign saying “please donate your unwanted pencils, children in Africa need them”. And it was as simple as that. The basket started to fill up over the space of a few days (my boss at the time was kind enough to let me leave it on the counter) and within one week I had gone from ten pencils to five shoe boxes full!
The incredible feeling I got, knowing these pencils were going to improve the lives of so many children, is something I can’t describe. From that moment I knew helping others was what I wanted to do.
Image source: developafrica.org
Growing up my family didn’t have a lot. We weren’t poor, but we weren’t rich either. There were definitely times of struggle, but even so, my parents always gave us as much as they could with what they had. As tight as my parents money got sometimes, they still found it in their hearts to be charitable. Every single time a charity person came to the door, they would donate. Even if all they could spare was $1.
They sponsored a child for many years and I found myself at the age of 16 doing the same. I’ve learnt over the years that those who haven’t got a lot to give, are often the most generous.
The time of year when I really love to give is Christmas. Working in the charity sector for a number of years now, I’ve come across a lot of statistics showing that the holiday period is when most people become charitable. Insiders tip! Every year I find a charity, depending what country I’m in and buy presents for their Christmas Appeal. Everybody needs a little something at Christmas and it just warms my heart knowing that this simple act, will turn someone’s Christmas into a magical one.
Image source: GOSH
As I travel the world I’ve been lucky enough to work for a number of different charities including Cancer Council NSW, Australian Red Cross & Marie Curie. Sometimes I’m in a location for a short period of time so in these instances I love to find charities where I can help out for a day or two.
Giving back and being charitable isn’t hard work. I love to tell people that ‘simple acts of kindness can leave big impressions on the heart’, because it’s so true. I can’t wait to share all of my charity travel experiences with you, I hope you enjoy!