Ever wanted to know what it’s like to work in international aid? In this special series, we introduce you to our many dedicated staff members working behind the scenes and on the ground, in Australia and overseas.
We hope you enjoy meeting #TeamChildFund!
My name is John Harris.
I’m the ChildFund Pass It Back Safeguarding and Regional Support Officer.
My role involves providing technical support to the ChildFund Pass It Back program in Vietnam. I’m also leading a separate regional safeguarding children in sport project, where I work with sporting organisations to improve their capacity to keep children safe from harm.
I’ve been at ChildFund since 2016.
Six-year-old Maithao’s cheeks are blushing pink from running around the school playground, and the freckles on her nose light up as she smiles.
She wraps her arm around her three-year-old sister Pahoa Moue, who shares the same fair features and sweet smile.
“I love going to school,” Maithao (pictured above) says. “It lets me play and have friends.”
It’s Maithao’s first year at the new early childhood school in Homsai village, where she lives, in remote eastern Laos.
The school, built with the support of ChildFund Laos and the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP), helps more than 30 children from poor families in the village, including Maithao and Pahoa Moue, prepare to enter primary education.
While Maithao is one of the older students in her class, she is grateful to be surrounded by other children around her age and finally have the opportunity to learn and play.
Before the school was built last year, Maithao spent her days on the family farm with her parents, helping them pull weeds and grow rice and corn.
“Sometimes, we had to stay at the farm for many days before coming back home,” Maithao says.
“I am very happy that I have started going to school. I can play in the playground, with the toys and my friends, and I can learn.”