Claire Carmichael, running in the SMH half marathon next Sunday (May 15), is raising money for The School of St Yared in Ethiopia.

By Francesca Wallace |

Claire Carmichael is volunteering differently, leading the way for professionals to take their skills into an environment far, far away from their high-rise office block.

Ms Carmichael, running in the SMH half marathon next Sunday (May 15), is raising money for The School of St Yared in Ethiopia, the community focused education center for poverty stricken children where she plans to volunteer this year.

However she won’t be using her skills as a teacher, rather she’ll bring experience in advertising and communication to work on a project that goes beyond the classroom.

“There’s no money in the school for any fundraising initiatives, but every year the school grows there’s a need for more donors. I want to help them consider ways for digital engagement and raising the profile of the school,” she said.

Ms Carmichael is part of an exchange program through her workplace, advertising and creative firm GPY&R in Sydney.

Born in Scotland, Ms Carmichael has spent the rest of her life travelling around the world. Her father, who was in the army, originally created the opportunity to live in a number of different countries but eventually she ended up back in the UK studying English literature at Oxford.

Having worked as a teacher in “challenging” secondary schools around England, Ms Carmichael relocated to London, then New York and now Sydney to pursue advertising. She will now take her skills to the School of St Yared in Addis Ababa.

“It will be a collaborative effort, it won’t be me going in there and trying to fix things because nothing needs to be fixed. It’s a way of working collaboratively to tell as many people as possible the amazing work the school does,” she said.

Ms Carmichael, 27, is among a number of young people choosing to share their corporate skills with NGOs overseas, rather than the traditional approach of hands-on volunteering, such as building a school.

“It’s incredibly powerful to understand how you can use communication to bring about social good and social impact, and that is something that I’d be interested in pursuing in the future.”

You can donate to Claire or find out how to sponsor a child at

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald
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