pixel About WYI

About WYI

World Youth International Australia (WYI) is a not for profit, non-religious & non-political international development organisation that offers people over the age of 18 the opportunity to volunteer overseas in a meaningful way.

We offer a range of programs and placements to countries including Kenya, Uganda, Nepal, India, Cambodia and Peru.

WYI Vision

"To educate, empower and inspire positive change within the global community through the legacy of Robert Hoey."

WYI Mission

World Youth International (WYI) is committed to:

  • Creating innovative and exciting opportunities for people to live life passionately and contribute to the global community.
  • Enhancing quality of life, strengthening communities and reducing poverty through sustainable development projects.

Founded in 1988 by the late Robert Hoey, WYI is one of Australia's leading not-for profit international development organisations. With a head office located in Adelaide, the organisation has facilitated meaningful volunteering opportunities for more than 3,000 Australians of all ages, working in some of the world's poorest communities for more than 24 years.

At the very heart of WYI's mission is a commitment to community-led, sustainable development projects. In essence this means a 'hand up', not a 'hand out'.

Founder Story - How WYI began

To understand World Youth International it is important to first understand Robert Hoey, a young man from Adelaide, Australia who at the age of 21 founded the organisation.

In 1988, after spending several years working with different teenage programs and organisations, Robert saw a need to provide young Australians with an opportunity to become involved in a program offering support and the opportunity to travel overseas. From participating in these projects, Robert felt sure that these young people would gain numerous skills and knowledge not easily developed elsewhere.

Robert's powerful facilitation style and ability to act as a spokes person and role model for young people was also identified by an American Youth Organisation, Global Discovery, who invited him to accompany them to Russia for three months to work on rehabilitation programs with young people affected by the Chernobyl disaster. Upon his return to Australia, Robert publicly declared his powerful vision and founded World Youth International.

One of the first projects the newly formed WYI engaged in was a fundraising activity to financially support 15 Russian teenagers in coming to Australia for a three month cultural exchange program. As a result, forty committed Aussie teenagers raised over $24,000 by gaining sponsorship to ride their pushbikes between Melbourne and Sydney and Sydney to Melbourne. Almost all of the money raised was derived from the participant's sheer commitment, motivation, desire to meet a challenge and willingness to reach out a hand of friendship to other teenagers across the world. Bike rides were then held in subsequent years all across the country, and they provided young people with an opportunity to challenge themselves emotionally, physically and mentally and grow hugely from the experience.

A few years later, having travelled, studied and led numerous programs in some of the world's most fascinating locations, Robert was leading a teenage exchange program in the USA and became gravely ill. He didn't realise at the time that he had contracted a form of Cryptococcus Meningitis, but knew he wanted to be flown home. His mother and sister both flew to the USA to be with him, but tragically Robert never made it back to Australia and passed away on the plane in his mother's arms - the same way he came into the world.

Led by Robert's mother and father, Ann and Ralph Hoey, with the support of the entire Hoey family, the organisation has committed to continuing Robert's vision and with the support of hundreds of amazing volunteers have since built a school and children's home in Nepal; children's homes and a recent 50 bed hospital in Western Kenya; established sponsorship programs for over 300 orphans and school students; as well as overseen thousands of volunteers who have participated in WYI's development projects all across the world.

WYI's Financial Accountability

As a registered non-profit charitable organisation we have all of our financial records audited every twelve months.

We receive no government funding and rely solely on our volunteers and the generosity of people all across the world for our work to continue.

We are proud of the fact that any 'profit' made at the end of each year goes straight back into funding our community development and major projects overseas. An example of this is the WYI School and Sapana Children's Home in Nepal, as well as the new 'Mama Ann's Hospital Odede Hospital' in Kenya.

In 2002 we created the World Youth International Benevolent Trust. The organisation is the Trustee of the Trust, and is responsible for maintaining the fund and assuring that all funds received are used for the Principal Purpose being:

"to provide aid for the relief of people suffering poverty, distress, misfortune and helplessness in countries declared by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as developing countries."

A Management Committee for the Trust has been established and directs the Trustee in the management and operations of the Trust.

International Partnerships

The WYI Head Office is based in Adelaide, South Australia but WYI has worked hard over the years to cultivate partnerships with local NGOs in a number of countries across the world. Our affiliates in Kenya and Nepal for example, WYI Nepal and WYI Kenya, are both governed independently and are accountable to the Government's of Kenya and Nepal respectively.

Field offices are also set up in other countries allowing our development programs and projects to work effectively.

Organisational Structure

World Youth International (WYI) is a not for profit, non-religious & non-political international NGO:

  • Approved as an Overseas Aid Gift Deduction Recipient by the Australian Taxation Department and AusAID
  • A Charitable Institution

Board of Directors

Mark Veitch - Chairperson
Ann Hoey - Secretary
Ralph Hoey AM
Cindy Angel
Lucia Gauci
Kathryn Anderson
Georgie Evangelou

Honourary advisor to the WYI Board on legal matters

Tom Doman

Management Committee

Ralph Hoey AM - Chairperson
Ann Shuttleworth
Warren Wilson

Staff, Volunteers and Supporters

Terry Hoey - Programs & Finance Manager
Alice Johnson - Overseas Program Coordinator
Celia Boyd - Major Projects Coordinator Kenya
Tim Butterfield - IT, Media and Graphic Designer
Ann Hoey - Sponsorship coordinator for WYI Sapana Dreaming Children's Home and the World Youth International School, Gokarna, Nepal.
Ann Shuttleworth - Sponsorship coordinator for The Mango Tree child sponsorship program (Kenya).
Joanna Giles - Patron of the WYI Sapana Dreaming Children's Home, Gokarna, Nepal

World Youth International has been supported by hundreds of people around the world since our beginnings. The work we are doing today would not have been possible without our past and present volunteers and their commitment to the youth of the world.

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