One of our most loyal supporters, Dianne Drew, has been fundraising for Action on Poverty for over 20 years.
In her own words, she shares her volunteer journey and what inspires her.
This year my eight-year-old granddaughter Saya and I teamed up to raise $2,000 for a school in Pu-Nhi, Vietnam. With our combined efforts, we quickly surpassed our target and raised enough money to install a water system for 60 students at a kindergarten, and provide winter clothes, scarves and boots for another 30 children at the preschool.
I’m absolutely thrilled that Saya is interested in tackling poverty and injustice. I’ve been working with Action on Poverty for over 20 years and in that time I’ve helped install a well in Nam Ha, provided medical supplies to Vietnamese clinics and sewing machines to a disabled school, built a bakery in Zambia called Stream of Peace, and helped fund pilot projects for the African Women’s Program.
My work started in the early 90s when I was volunteering as a tutor at the British Aerospace training school in Tamworth, helping Asian students who were having difficulty with spoken English. One of my first students, Dang, was from the Red River Delta in the north of Vietnam. He was the youngest of 11 children and was brought up on a fishing boat. He often spoke of the need for a water supply and medical equipment in his village, so just before he left to go back to Vietnam my friends and I had a ‘well party’ to raise money. A couple of years later, I went with two friends to see ‘our well’ located just outside the small village hospital.
Soon after I returned, I found out about Action on Poverty. At that time, they regularly shipped medical equipment to developing countries. The people working there were very impressive and the fact that it was a secular organisation appealed to me.
That was the start of my relationship with Action on Poverty. Since then, I’ve often spoken about their work at Rotary, Lions, Zonta, and police functions, and organised fundraising events such as concerts with soprano Annalisa Kerrigan. Money from our concerts has funded many pilot projects, such as maternal waiting homes in Zimbabwe.
I feel motivated by Action on Poverty staff – they work incredibly hard to bring about change by empowering people, especially women. I’m now trying to pass that same passion onto the next generation, including my grandchildren. My advice to people wishing to fundraise is to link up with a reputable organisation and start with an achievable goal. If you have the passion, you can do it too.
Inspired to be a changemaker like Dianne? Find out more about fundraising