Teams Behind the Scenes
Many parts come together to make Mary Ward International Australia (MWIA). It is a dynamic organism, constantly responding to changing contexts. What links the parts are our vision and values, distilled in our Purpose statement, ‘Creating just and sustainable change with women, children and communities.’
So who is involved in the work of MWIA? And what part do they play? First and foremost are our MWIA project partners in country – the Loreto Sisters and their colleagues, and the communities we work with through particular projects. I think of the communities in the Brickfields in Kolkata, the Ostico community in Timor-Leste, communities in Zambia and Kenya, and closer to home in Wilcannia. I think of Sr Monica in India, Sr Orla in Africa, and Sr Margaret Mary in Timor-Leste, and their love for and commitment to the communities in which they work.
Supporting this work are our MWIA staff, small in number, efficient and dedicated. Their work encompasses many areas, often unseen: writing grant applications, supporting our project partners, linking local needs with resources, ensuring MWIA complies with its legal obligations, spreading awareness of the mission and work of MWIA, including across Loreto schools and the Loreto family, engaging in advocacy on behalf of those whose voices cannot easily be heard, and connecting with donors. Our donors are pivotally important. Without resources, we can do little … ‘no money, no mission’!
Many people contribute to the work of MWIA through donations: those who are regular donors, giving what they can afford; those who respond to specific appeals; the Loreto school communities across Australia who devote their annual Loreto Day or Mission Day to awareness-raising and fundraising for an MWIA-supported project; those who arrange bequests to MWIA; and our generous major donors. Thank you to each one of you.
Finally, we have a hardy band of volunteers. Volunteering can take many forms, and we are hoping to expand opportunities to volunteer in the future. In writing this piece, however, I am thinking of the wonderfully generous volunteers who serve on the Board of MWIA. I think too of those who contribute their expertise and experience in a range of ways for particular projects, such as developing our new strategy, and in ongoing ways as members of our five board committees and working parties. Through working together towards a shared purpose, everyone benefits.
Author: Dr Leoni Degenhardt, MWIA Board Chair