G’day from wintry Melbourne. I am now past the halfway mark through my assignment with Save the Children Australia. When I first told my friends that I was doing a Pulse Assignment in Australia most people raised their eyebrows and looked a bit surprised. Do Australians need help from NGOs? I guess the normal man on the street doesn’t but remember that there are huge numbers of migrants in Australia. The children of these migrants struggle to keep up with learning English so Save the Children run classes after school hours to help bridge the gap. I attended as a volunteer this week in one of their classes. There were about 30 kids of African origin, all very keen to be there to read the books, hear one of their friends read and then make a little book about themselves. I saw that the mums also enjoyed a respite as they gathered at a corner to chit chat. This kind of program doesn’t take a lot of money but it was gratifying to see the happiness it brought to the young faces. This is just one of the many programs run by Save the Children Australia in Australia, Pacific Islands & in other parts of the world.
One thing I learned from my assignment so far is that fund raising is tough. I was just thinking how different it was to commercialise and sell our GSK products and how the NGOs raise funds, both are really marketing functions. In the commercial world you can always find some competitive advantage in your product be it efficacy, safety or price but when it comes to fund raising I believe you actually have to sell your cause and whether donors believe in you and your cause. It’s tough and we need to support these guys whenever we can. Cheers!