Founders' Story

Paul Jukes and Theresa Fischer, Founders

In 2005 and 2006 we travelled through South America and found ourselves driven by an urge to make a difference through participating in volunteer work. We wanted to offer our skills to serve impoverished communities. Paul is a senior water engineer and Theresa is an environmental scientist and community advocate.

This experience revealed to us that many existing volunteer and aid organisations, while sincere in their intentions, were both costly and sometimes ineffective at instigating sustainable improvement to the communities they work in. When we returned to Australia, we attempted to partner with existing aid and development organisations to continue supporting these communities, but found the administrative cost of Australian aid and development work often far outweighed the actual on-the-ground expenditure.

We were moved to create an organisation that would dedicate 100% of its donations toworking with communities and volunteers and create sustainable livelihoods for developing communities.

A founding group of directors and volunteers generously gave their time and skills to establish thecharity, ‘Aliamos’, a word that means ‘we (the world) unite’ and ‘become allies’. Drawn from the Spanish and Portuguese languages it presents the vision of Aliamos in a single word and reflects the influence of the South American cultures from which the foundations of the Aliamos initiative emerged.

Aliamos has no paid employees and we exist thanks to our four directors who freely give their time and skills to support our mission. At any one time, we can also have up to 50 generous volunteer sworking on projects or events for the charity and our communities.