Taking Volunteering Passion Across the Globe
7 October 2013 at 10:34 am
At only 27 years old, Celia Boyd has already led an impressive career in the Not for Profit sector that has led her to co-found Not for Profit volunteer organisation Community SEEDS and be named a Young Social Pioneer with the Foundation for Young Australians. Boyd is this week’s Changemaker.
Inspired to volunteer overseas by her “extremely passionate” mum, Boyd was 20 when she started volunteering overseas in the Philippines, Kenya and India before starting her first Not for Profit job as the Papua New Guinea Country Director for The Oaktree Foundation in 2010 and 2011.
With Oaktree, Boyd managed projects and partnerships in PNG and was “lucky enough” to start two new partnerships and projects that are still being implemented.
Boyd has also worked as the Kenya Major Projects Manager for World Youth International, an Australian NGO that provides volunteering opportunities overseas and works with local partners to implement community development projects.
Now with Community SEEDS, a Not for Profit volunteer organisation run by young Australians, Boyd helps the group partner with community-based organisations in developing countries to fight poverty through education.
What are you currently working on in your organisation?
At the moment we’re finishing up a project, which was building a Nursery School in a slum in Kenya.
The school will provide three years of free education to 100 children living in poverty each year.
We’ve also just started a new partnership in Cambodia with Samrong Children’s Farms, sponsoring young people to go to university.
In Australia we’re working on organising two events – the first is a gig night in Melbourne that will headline the band Whitley and include several other awesome local bands, to fundraise for our projects overseas.
The second is a speaking tour to raise awareness about global poverty and the importance of investing in local organisations and communities overseas.
We’re hoping to get one of our partners from Kenya over here to speak to schools, universities and community groups.
What was your first job in the Not for Profit sector?
Papua New Guinea Country Director for The Oaktree Foundation. I managed Oaktree’s projects and partnerships in PNG, and was lucky enough to be able to start two new partnerships and projects, which are still currently being implemented.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
People’s stories. It is easy to get burned out, frustrated and lost in paperwork and emails, so when I hear a story about a mother who is now able to send her children to school, or a former street child who has received top grades in their year, it is the best kind of motivation.
What do you like best about working in your current organisation?
Being able to connect to people in developing countries who are making an incredible impact within their own communities.
They are really inspiring people and I’m very lucky to be able to work with them.
I consider my greatest achievement to be …
I recently spent six months living and working in Kenya for World Youth International, working with a local team to support them on a large health project that included a health centre and community education and outreach programs.
The other day I received a report saying that since the opening in March, the Odede Community Health Centre has treated over 3,200 people, all of whom live in extremely poor communities.
Those six months were the most difficult of my life – from the project itself, to living alone in a rural village in very basic conditions.
This success is all because of the local staff and community, and I’m proud that I got to play a supporting role in this achievement.
Favourite saying …
“What will you do with your one wild and precious life?” – Mary Oliver
Through your work, what is your ultimate dream?
I’m extremely passionate about gender equality, so my ultimate dream would be working on projects that empower women and fight for equality, particularly in developing countries.
I want to see women accessing equal rights to education, civil and political participation, economic power, and an end to gender-based violence and discrimination.
What (or who) inspires you?
My dad is an entrepreneur who has only recently discovered holidays. He has built several businesses, worked both in Australia and overseas, and experienced both failure and success.
I watched him lose a business he worked incredibly hard to build and rather than give up he spent the next decade rebuilding again.
My mum is a nurse and an extremely passionate person. She has always told me that if her work stopped paying her today, she’d still turn up tomorrow. She was the first person to inspire me to volunteer overseas. Because of her I’ve always looked for work that is about following my passions rather than a good income.
My partner James inspires me every single day, and constantly picks me up and keeps me going.
He has encouraged me to do so many things that I would have been too afraid to do otherwise.
Other people that I’ve met or worked with inspire me every day, particularly volunteers, friends, and people doing amazing things for their communities.