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Bondy campaigns for global change

Bond University graduate Ashleigh Peplow Ball has become the first Australian to be awarded a Global Advocate Fellowship by American based Non-Government Organisation Mama Hope, which provides leadership programs for international aid workers.

Ms Peplow Ball, who hails from Hawthorn, Adelaide and recently graduated from Bond University with a dual degree in International Relations and Communications, is now on a campaign to raise $20,000 for her first international aid project, which will see her travel to Uganda in September.

During her three month mission to the small village of Bundondo - which has no electricity or running water - she will project manage the set up of a community centre, which will become an important meeting point for locals looking to access health care information and conduct community events.

Ms Peplow Ball says she has always had a drive to make a real difference in the world, and her experiences at Bond University and Mama Hope have provided the ideal foundations for her to achieve her goals.

"Last year as part of my final semester at Bond University, I had the opportunity to complete a student exchange program in Mexico. It was my first experience living and working in a developing country, and it cemented my ambition to forge a career empowering people living in less privileged societies," she said.

"Since leaving University in December, I applied and was accepted into the Mama Hope program, which is a bridging course for people like me who want real world experience in developing communities.

"The great thing about Mama Hope is that it is an end to end program - I have to raise the money for my project, then travel to the community to facilitate the work, and when I come back at the end of the year, I will have to complete a report to show that the money was used efficiently.

"In recent years a lot of NGOs have realised that the way we have been giving aid over the past 50 years has not always been effective. What works best is a more grassroots, sustainable approach where the people within the community are given the tools and knowledge to make changes to their own lives.

"My role in Bundondo will be to set up the community centre. The profits from renting out the centre will make the attached health centre, also established by Mama Hope, self-sustainable. The community centre will also offer locals free health advice as a preventative measure and to improve overall living conditions in the area.

"When I return from Uganda I will be moving to Melbourne, and my ultimate goal is to work with a multi-national NGO or maybe even start my own NGO one day.

"With the support and guidance I received at Bond, along with the hands on opportunities I have with Mama Hope, I'm confident I will be able to achieve this."

Bond University Vice Chancellor Professor Tim Brailsford said students like Ashleigh were a credit to not only the University but the wider community.

"Our ethos at Bond University is to understand individual student aspirations, and help guide them in taking that next step by offering relevant internships and partnership programs," he said.

"We recognise that one degree has many different pathways and therefore the journey is student-led.

“We are always pleased to hear about our past students going out into the world and not just making a real difference in their chosen field, but giving back to the community, be that on a local or global scale."

Ashleigh is hosting a number of fundraising events for her cause. 

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