According to reports, big scale Australian philanthropy and volunteering are on the increase. While Australians last year gave a record $143 billion last year, according to Pro Bono Australia they are giving more than just money. Australians are giving their time. Our medicos are amping up the assistance too.
The Australian medical industry has been heavily involved in volunteering abroad in developing countries. Interplast, an Australian New Zealand partnership claim that an estimated 143 million people each year go without surgical attention they urgently need, more than 99 million of those cases are in Asia and Oceania, where Interplast works.
Interplast gives free surgical treatment to people who otherwise couldn’t access procedures that could restore their ability to function fully and give them new hope.
Treating children and adults for conditions such as burns, tumours, congenital conditions and trauma requiring reconstruction, Interplast has become a beloved organisation to many patients.
In 2018 16 Vanuatu locals benefited from life-changing surgical operations and this year from May to June, surgical and physiotherapy mentoring was also conducted.
Geelong Plastic Surgeon Dr Ian Holten has been a part of the Interplast journey for many years and was also a part of both these trips. The Australian of the Year nominee is humble about his involvement and says “I am grateful for the opportunities I have had in life to learn medicine and serve those who need help, and I believe in taking those skills I have and sharing them with people who might otherwise die. Everyone should have access to medical attention, and this is just one way I can contribute” Dr Holten is not alone, with thousands of medical staff and volunteers travelling every year to help those in need.
Australian Volunteers, a government organisation has now been in operation for more than 60 years supporting thousands of skilled Australians to volunteer in developing countries. Covering 26 countries and with over 700 partnered organisations and 5000+ volunteers heading out over 5 years, it is pretty obvious the Australian giving spirit is alive and well.