A message of support during the Australian bushfire crisis

During the past week the Australian bushfire emergency, compounded by severe drought, has reached unprecedented levels. Hundreds of communities are fighting to save their homes and livelihoods.

These extreme weather conditions have caused untold damage to our beautiful country – to our children, their families, our unique and wonderful natural environment, and the wildlife and livestock of our rural areas.

ChildFund Australia is deeply saddened by the suffering, loss and trauma these frightening events have caused and we express our heartfelt condolences to all those Australians impacted by the bushfires around the country.

Margaret Sheehan, CEO of ChildFund, said: “It is a part of our national identity to help those going through difficult times, both at home and abroad.

“Thousands of people are experiencing significant hardship and loss in communities.

“We want to thank and acknowledge the firefighters and those involved in emergency operations whose incredible dedication is saving lives and defending communities across the country.”

As an organisation that has long supported the world’s most vulnerable children and families, ChildFund would like to recognise the generosity of the Australian people.

ChildFund encourages those wishing to support disaster-affected communities in Australia to visit the ABC website for a list of reputable organisations to donate to: https://ab.co/2QSVlQN.

For those individuals experiencing financial hardship as a result of the drought or bushfires, and who currently support our child sponsorship, Project Humanity, or community sponsorship programs, please contact our Supporter Relations team on 1800 023 600.

ChildFund Australia Board Chair Mary Latham has today announced the appointment of Margaret Sheehan as the organisation’s new Chief Executive Officer.

Margaret is currently the International Program Director at ChildFund Australia, a role she has held for the past four years. She will succeed current CEO Nigel Spence, who steps down from the role after 14 years of distinguished service.

Mary Latham said: “Margaret’s role within ChildFund, and her many years of working in the international aid sector, uniquely qualify her for this position.

“The appointment follows an extensive, competitive, international and national recruitment process.”

Margaret holds a Masters in Public Health and has over two decades of experience in managing international development programs and personnel in field office settings.

Prior to joining ChildFund, Margaret held senior international roles with UNICEF and the World Health Organisation and has significant experience in humanitarian response programming.

This includes providing senior management and development guidance during the Strategic Response Plan for the Typhoon Haiyan Emergency in the Philippines, and the Humanitarian Response Plan in Yemen in 2016.

Nigel Spence said: “I am delighted that a person of Margaret’s skill and experience will take over the leadership of ChildFund Australia at the end of 2019.

“Margaret is an expert international development professional, whose career has been dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable children and families. I am confident that ChildFund will go from strength to strength under her leadership.”

Margaret will commence her new role in late December 2019.

She said: “It is a privilege to be given the opportunity to lead an organisation for which I already have such a deep and personal commitment.

“Nigel leaves behind a strong and collaborative workplace culture, and I look forward to working with our many talented staff as we strive to make a positive difference to the lives of vulnerable children living in developing communities.

“As the world marks the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, it is vital that we ensure that no child is left behind. Every young person should experience a childhood in which they are nurtured, protected, and given access to opportunity.”