Australian Volunteers International

Reconciliation

AVI acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging and recognise the continuing connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have to their lands and waters.

We specifically pay our respects to the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation, as the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which our head office is located.

Sovereignty has never been ceded. It always was and always will be, Aboriginal land.

AVI strives for a peaceful, just and sustainable world where all people have access to the resources they need, the opportunity to achieve their potential and the right to make decisions about the future of their communities. This is central in our approach to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, for whom we have deep gratitude and respect.

We support the Uluru Statement from the Heart to achieve justice, recognition and respect for First Nations people and a referendum to enshrine a First Nations Voice in the Constitution. We accept the invitation contained in the Statement to walk together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart

Our RAP

In 2019, a cross-organisation Working Group was formed to develop AVI’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2020-2022.

Following formal endorsement by Reconciliation Australia, our first Innovate RAP was launched during NAIDOC Week 2020. AVI’s Innovate RAP builds on the foundations laid in previous years and draws on the strengths of AVI, outlining the steps AVI is committed to make towards reconciliation. The RAP document was designed by Timothy Buckey from Rareland, a proud Bundjalung man, and includes original artwork designed by AVI’s Alice Tamang, a proud Dharug woman.

Download AVI’s Innovate RAP

Our Artwork

The feature artwork of AVI’s RAP was designed by staff member Alice Tamang, who is a proud Dharug woman.

The top centre element of the symbol represents the volunteer, with the three layers surrounding representing the volunteer’s family, community and extended networks. Likewise, the bottom centre element represents the staff of the Partner Organisation, with the three layers surrounding representing the Partner Organisation, their community and extended networks.

When these two elements come together they represent two groups meeting, to exchange knowledge and work towards a common goal. The green and blue colours represent saltwater and freshwater, as the waters that we travel across and the 29 white circles represent each country that we work in, including Australia.

The shadows represent the lasting impact of the program on all involved, with the black border around the elements represents the AVI as the continual thread that links everything together. The lines upon the border recognise the contributions of past volunteers.

Our team

AVI’s RAP has been facilitated by a group of passionate people from various units and levels of management.

Kylie Willow

International Projects Lead

I acknowledge the past injustices and ongoing inequalities experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples since colonisation, and am committed to taking action to work towards an equal and respectful future.

Aleks Hureau-Sarmis

Student Program Manager

As a new Australian citizen, I am committed to taking an active part in the reconciliation process with First Nations People.

I acknowledge the deeply entrenched consequences of colonisation and the injustice and discrimination that persist today for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

I hope that collective effort will lead to the transformation of society into a place where truth can be told and heard, and where equality is real.  

Joining the RAP Committee is a fantastic opportunity to learn and to support our organisation in being a respectful and inclusive workplace.

Victoria George

Senior Content Producer

I am committed to working towards reconciliation with our First Nations people, and speaking out against racism and injustice. I want to work towards a future of true equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders: where the ongoing impacts of colonisation are openly acknowledged, and work is done across society to address these wrongs. I am proud to co-chair AVI’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group.

Gabriele Rukas

Partnerships & Innovation Coordinator

I live and work on the lands of Ramindjeri people. Here I find inspiration in learning about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ traditions and deep knowledge. I respectfully promote truth telling and believe that by bringing my passion in more-than-human design, based on the First Peoples’ connection to Country, I can contribute to building better futures that are equally shared in the organisation and beyond.

Alison Boundy

People and Culture Manager

I am committed to reconciliation and truth-telling with the Traditional Custodians of this land. I acknowledge the ongoing impact of colonialisation, systematic racism and injustice on First Nations peoples. I recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples continued connection and ownership of all land and waters – sovereignty was never ceded. I deeply appreciate the wisdom that has been shared by First Nations Peoples throughout my life. I pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, on the land on which I live and work – the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation.

Lois Knight

Inclusion Manager

The RAP is one way to contribute to reconciliation on Wurundjeri Country where I live and work.  I acknowledge Australia’s true history and am committed to learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture as part of our journey towards reconciliation and justice. At AVI, this also means supporting First Nations Australians to share knowledge, skills and culture with First Nations people in our region.

May Ng

Communications and Fundraising

Growing up in the 1990’s, I was taught that Australia was discovered in 1788 by Captain James Cook. The Aboriginal people were little more than a side note in ‘the history of Australia’. We have come a long way since in terms of acknowledging that Australia was taken by force from the world’s oldest continuous civilisation, but we still have a long way to go. To me, reconciliation is the process of healing the scars of the past to ensure healthy growth for the future.

Mel Gow

CEO

I am committed to reconciliation with Australia’s First Nations people. I recognize the historical and ongoing injustices that continue to undermine reconciliation and I will work to challenge and change these where I see them. I am committed to being an active change agent both individually and organizationally.

Molly Garcia-Underwood

Board and Executive Assistant

I am committed to working toward reconciliation and decolonisation, and a future that truly recognises the atrocities committed against First Nations People and is making active reparations. I acknowledge the privilege I hold, living and working on stolen land. I proud to be a member of the RAP Working Group, with the goal of enabling change within our organisation and throughout our networks and promoting a safe and inclusive workplace culture.

Simone Condon

Gender Equality Coordinator

I am committed to working towards justice and reconciliation in Australia. I want to be part of telling the truth about our history so that we can rebuild a more just and inclusive society.

I am excited about engaging with and learning more about First Nations culture and for this to inform our organisation and work at AVI. I also recognise the international aid system is underpinned by colonial history and am committed to decolonising the way we work and championing equitable international partnerships.

Yin Yin Thatun

Recruitment Lead

Coming from Myanmar, country where conflict at all levels is an ongoing issue, I feel privileged to be in my second home in Australia and be a part of the RAP Committee where a safe environment is provided for tough but necessary conversations. It allows me to learn about ways in which we engage with Australia’s First Nations People and work towards their reconciliation and equality.

I have a personal commitment to peacebuilding, especially in the space of community reconciliation, and I hope to support the Working Group in making AVI a more safe and inclusive organisation.

Victoria Langmead

Disability Inclusion Coordinator, Australian Volunteers Program

I am a proud Noongar woman from the south-west of Western Australia. Joining the RAP Group supports my desire to continue the journey towards reconciliation, promote and advocate for the inclusion of Indigenous voices and support shared understanding and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff.

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