Terry’s journey with World Youth International has been an amazing adventure that has allowed him to experience many different countries and cultures, while inspiring positive change across the globe. There are many families that aspire to help change the world but only few that have the tools, courage and motivation to make it a reality.
World Youth International was founded in 1988 by Terry’s brother Robert, who was passionate about creating opportunities for Australians to be challenged, inspired, motivated and connected while helping those less fortunate.
“Robert had many dreams. He believed he could achieve any goal he set his mind to and incredibly inspiring. It was always hard to keep up with his latest plans for a better world,” says Terry.
Tragically, Robert passed away in 1996 when he was only 28 years old after contracting Cryptococcus Meningitis.
“My parents were devastated, and it was hard to see light at the end of the tunnel. However, they embraced their pain and decided to take over the organisation that Robert had started, inspiring both my sister and I to join them. Together, we channelled our grief into something positive, allowing Robert’s vision to live on through all of us. I believe it was always my destiny to fulfil Robert’s vision to help communities that are less fortunate than ours. If not me, then who?”
Terry has really taken his role in the organisation on board, always doing what was necessary to ensure not only its survival, but also its growth, so that vulnerable communities can continue to receive quality access to health and education.
We recently caught up with Terry, who gave us some insight into World Youth International, and his experiences through the decades in making it the amazing charity it is today.
How long have you been in leadership positions in World Youth International?
I first started as Director of World Youth International back in 1997 and have since gone on to manage every aspect of the organisation. I have travelled extensively to all destinations and have seen both the best and the worst of this beautiful world we live in.
What are the most challenging aspects of your role? Working in a family business is never easy and there are always challenges to overcome. However, we have managed to successfully run World Youth International for over 32 years and our family relationship has never been stronger. We have navigated through some major challenges over the years that have impacted our organisation, including SARS and Ebola and most recently, we are navigating our way through the Covid-19 pandemic.
What are you hoping to achieve by being General Manager?
First and foremost, my goal is to ensure that our organisation not only survives while I’m on watch, but thrives! I personally would like to see World Youth International expand into new countries, generate more corporate partners and offer new and exciting programs experiences for our volunteers.
How can volunteering overseas enhance a person’s development, both professionally and personally? World Youth International has evolved over the last 3 decades, transitioning from unskilled volunteer placements to skilled placements. WYI programs are well mapped out and all of the planning is taken care of. This allows the volunteer to fully immerse themselves into their experience and have some life changing experiences. Our volunteers return empowered and excited to take on the world. Many of our volunteers have created their own NGO charities or have stepped into leadership positions in major organisation around the world. We create experiences for volunteers that gives them the inspiration that they can take on any role on the planet.
What should people look for when considering an overseas volunteer opportunity? Most of our volunteers either have a dream to travel to the destination on offer or a personal drive to help those less fortunate and make a difference. Many nurses want to travel overseas and volunteer but there are very few opportunities to travel as a team. Generally speaking, nursing placements overseas are usually individually based roles, however our Nurses in Action program allows nurses to be part of a team, have everything organised for them and they travel in a structured environment. This allows for some amazing experiences!
What is one of your greatest memories on a program? I have been travelling since I was 4 years old and have seen many parts of the world. I have a passion for travel and I love to explore new countries and cultures. One of my greatest memories was on a WYI volunteer program in Peru where our team of volunteers spent 3 months digging a channel to lay a water pipe that stretched over 1.5 kms. I was fortunate to be able to turn on the pump and bring fresh drinking water into a remote Peruvian community where over 1000 people were living. I remember the locals celebrating and dancing wildly as the water flowed for the first time in their community.
What achievement are you most proud of?
There’s no doubt that our greatest achievement is our first ever major construction project which was the World Youth International School in Nepal. This was built in honour of the founder of WYI and my brother, the Late Robert Hoey. We opened it on Robert’s birthday (Sept 14, 1999) and there were just 22 students in attendance. The school today has over 550 students and is recognised as one of the leading schools in Nepal with an average grade pass rate of over 96.5%. It continues to grow from strength to strength. We are very fortunate and appreciative to have the support of Computershare, who voted for WYI to be their primary global beneficiary. Computershare’s funding has been targeted to extend classes into Year 11 and 12, as well as make significant improvements to classrooms and support teacher training to improve educational standards at the school.
What does International Year of the Nurse and Midwife mean to you, as the leader of an organisation that has aligned with this global campaign? I am incredibly proud to part of this campaign and to be highlighting the great work of our nurses and midwives. Many would say that the planned events and celebrations of 2020 has been shadowed by the impacts of the Coronavirus but from my perspective, the timing could not have been better. Nurses and midwives globally have been able to demonstrate their worth to the world and governments and countries are now recognising them for the incredible work they do. This is truly the Year of the Nurse and Midwife!
From your perspective what are the major barriers is Kenyan/Nepali communities accessing healthcare during the pandemic?
There is limited government funding that is being distributed to health centres and communities in these countries creating major barriers for the healthcare sector. Unfortunately, access to the most simplest items like PPE’s is in short demand and their front line workers are forced to treat patients with limited or no protection or equipment.
What is your long term vision for the future?
We want to create a world in which people of all countries have equal access to the most basic services such as health care.
Thank you Terry for sharing your insights!