Once upon a Global Poverty Project time in a not far away place inMelbourne(if you are already in Melbourne or far away if you are not inMelbourne) …
I arrived in Melbourneon almost this day two years ago from Aotearoa New Zealand. I had just completed a 3000km global awareness / cycling journey and had been in touch with the Global Poverty Project to do a bicycle trip following their launch of the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation fromMelbourne to Brisbane.
My introduction to GPP goes like this… The Country Manager forAustralia, Richard Fleming, had said I could stay at his place in Collingwood as I stepped foot off the plane. My first night was spent engaging with his housemates and assembling my bike together on his veranda. I then slept in his bed for the night as he was actually away. I then met Rich for the first time in person the following morning having received his hospitality and slept in his bed!
This is a pretty good starting point for my experiences with the GPP for the next two years.
I am now in the final days of working with Global Poverty Project in Melbourne before heading to South America to lead a group of 17 university volunteers in ruralPeruwith Australian Volunteers International.
My role with the GPP as the Youth and Schools Manager has been the longest job I have ever had. It is with huge sadness that I leave this role (my choice) but with abundant happiness reflecting on the learning, maturity, inspiration and growth I have received in the past 2 years.
The pure joys in life for me are learning, sharing, interacting and participating with humans and the environment. I could not think of a better more fulfilling job that has given me all of these in such a rich form.
The GPP has really changed my perspective on life. I have learnt to put all of my energy, passion, enthusiasm and a few simple skills I have into something that makes a huge difference to young people. Instead of fighting the system with my deep down hopes of downshifting, anti-consumerism and voluntary simplicity – for people to not live the ‘high life’, I have learnt to work with the system and offer simple ways to act that will help to reduce and ultimately end extreme poverty that has been their own choice not my mantra – so effective.
To stop this from being an epic autobiography of my past two years I am forever grateful for just a couple of these experiences and people…
- Jane Macdonald from AVI (Australian Volunteers International) who saw my little crappy powerpoint and suggested I see the professionals doing this whole global education and awareness thing and not just one person on a bike
- Rich Fleming of course for letting me sleep in his bed before meeting him and his encouragement during the cycling tour from Melbourne to Brisbane and then beyond!
- My Grey Nissan Nomad that was my home for 8 months – a great transition to go from cycling touring to civilisation – loved the simplicity and novelty of it
- Not spending more than 2 weeks in one place for the whole of 2010 a I travelled round the country delivering presentations, meeting networks and training presenters
- The 150+ presenters I have trained in the 1.4 Billion Reasons presentation and GPP. All who shared with me their intimate stories of why they want to see an end to poverty
- Over 80 presentations to probably over 20,000 people that have sat there and listened to me and the presentation and will never look at poverty in the same way again
- The two co-founders of the GPP – Simon Moss and Hugh Evans without whom this amazing presentation and organisation wouldn’t exist. Noting happens by chance!
- The incredible support of two, now life-long and dear friends, Ash Wheaton and Rich Fleming who housed me in their den/cave/storage room/dungeon and allowed me to live with my slightly different perspectives and ethics (but not bathe in the creek!)
- The biggest most positive change to my life ever – meeting my girlfriend, Rach
- The over 10,000 young people I have presented to and interacted with who have inspired me daily with their passion, creativity and conviction that we will see an end to poverty – it has been a joy to see the best of humanity through 10-17 year olds
- The launch event at Fed Square in March was a blessing to share with others a little insight into what I get to experience with every presentation – pure magic
- The incredible partnership with Plan and staff and the abundant learning coupled with it
- The small but amazing GPP staff of Wei, Albie, Renee and many other interns, volunteers and supporters who I’ve learnt from and have shared being a part of something very special
- Cheers Melbourne for being a big scary busy city but a good friend to visit for 2 years
- Con gusto to all my family and friends for your support and encouragement – its just what people do and I will always try to extend that to every soul in the world…
- So many more to try to capture but most haven’t read this far anyway!
It is with absolute privilege and passion that I reflect on my role with the Global Poverty Project and my time in Australia in the past two years. Every moment and experience has contributed to me being able to live my dream.
I am only away from Australia for about 5 months and will never not be a Global Poverty Project fighter but it has been beautiful for me to reflect on my time.
With unlimited human spirit and love – thank you and lets keep making the world wonderful!