Evelyn's Journey: Volunteering, Adventure, and Making a Difference

Evelyn (Eve) Moolenburgh has been volunteering with ABV since 2019, working alongside ABV staff and those of our partners throughout the Asia Pacific region. Born in Perth and now living in Sydney, Eve's life has been shaped by diverse experiences, both in Australia and abroad. From her time in Nauru supporting sustainable tourism development with ABV and our partner the Nauru Chamber of Commerce to her dedicated role as a community firefighter, Eve embodies the spirit of giving back.

Let's take a look into Eve's inspiring volunteering story and her impact as a changemaker:

Volunteering has been an important part of Eve's life since her early years. Inspired by her mother's 45 years of service to Meals on Wheels, Eve has continued to make a positive impact through volunteer work. "From my days as a Brownie and Girl Guide to now, volunteering is so important to me. First, I did 'Cents for Service,' sweeping up the leaves and pathways for elderly neighbours; then, it was volunteering at the local hospital and running fundraising at the school to build a new library. Now it's community firefighting; and business volunteering with ABV," Eve shares. The rewards of volunteering extend far beyond the tangible outcomes, as Eve has forged lifelong friendships and witnessed the transformative power of helping others.

For over 20 years, Eve has dedicated herself to the role of Team Coordinator in her local Community Fire Unit. Although her suburb is surrounded by bushland, active firefighting situations have been rare. Nevertheless, Eve's role extends beyond fighting fires; it encompasses educating her community about fire safety and helping them prepare for potential hazards. "Ensuring our suburb is fire-ready and raising awareness about fire safety measures is crucial. Our collective effort contributes to a safer community," Eve emphasizes.

Eve's volunteer experience is complemented by her 40+ years' business experience, including working as an insurance broker in London and later starting her own thriving consulting business with 10+ staff in Sydney supporting organisational change, leadership development and making businesses successful through their people, with many clients in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Accolades include an Inbound Tourism Emerging Leader talent program which won "Best Talent Program" in 2016, a program still running. 

Among Eve's numerous volunteering assignments with ABV, one of her most cherished experiences took place in Nauru, where Eve discovered a country brimming with warmth, creativity and the huge potential of its young people. Collaborating with ABV staff and our partner, the Nauru Chamber of Commerce, Eve has worked with a wide range of local stakeholders to help lay the groundwork for a private-sector and youth-led sustainable tourism industry. Through her work with ABV, Eve not only learns about different cultures but also has the opportunity to inspire -- and be inspired by -- local changemakers, supporting them to drive new opportunities with their communities. 

When she isn't occupied with her professional commitments, Eve finds serenity in her beloved hobby of kayaking. Living near Sydney Harbour has provided Eve with the perfect playground to embark on kayaking adventures with her son and husband. One of her most memorable kayak adventures was recently navigating Marovo Lagoon in the Solomon Islands with her husband.

Reflecting on her ABV volunteer work predominantly in the Pacific region, Eve shares that, "One of the most significant lessons I've learned is about different approaches to time." It has been an enlightening experience for Eve, who has found that investing the time to listen, learn and adapt her approach to each country's own unique rhythm allows more time for reflection and enables you to embrace a more present and mindful approach to life.

In Eve's words, "There is twice as much to be gained from being a volunteer; not just the fruits of fundraising and the sight of a brand-new library at the local school but the friends and people you meet and the reward of seeing someone else benefit and thrive."

Image: Eve is pictured with Nauru Business Hub Manager, Jennifer Harris.

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