For my day job, I am a research scientist in the field of weather and climate. At the moment I am studying for my PhD, looking at the climate of West Antarctica. Prior to my PhD, I was lucky enough to work for an AusAID funded program that assisted National Weather Services in Pacific island nations make better use of climate data. My time spent in developing island nations reinforced to me the importance of the work that Aware does with disadvantaged communities, both in Australia and abroad.
There are a lot of aid organisations out there, so I often get asked why I chose to get involved with Aware. Quite simply, it is because of the focus on creating positive change. Instead of simply providing disadvantaged communities with material goods, Aware aims to increase the self esteem and life skills of every participant in its programs. That’s not to say that material goods aren’t important, however through enhanced skills and self esteem communities develop the capacity to improve their situation for themselves, as opposed to relying on material aid.
In other words, Aware’s art-based programs are creating long term, sustainable change in a fun and innovative way. That’s why I’m proud to be on the Board of Directors, and that’s why I find our volunteers and participants so inspiring.