We build early learning eco-friendly children's villages and big, bright futures

Robert Cork

Profile photo of Robert Cork

fws USA president, permaculture manager & founding member

volunteering with fws because

It was a bit silly really: I made the mistake of travelling to Tanzania in 2003. Yep, that’s it. Simple really, and in hindsight it would have been a lot easier if I stayed at home with a white picket fence. Although the first trip was short, it was here that I met four Aussie girls who would go on to found fws. Talk about life changing.

I then spent a few years between Canada (where I did it tough working as a rafting guide, and spent as much time as possible in the mountains kayaking, climbing or skiing), Australia (working as an environmental engineer) and Cambodia for a year of volunteering (to improve agricultural production and access to water supplies in a number of villages affected by land-mines and many past years of civil war). Cambodia led straight back to Tanzania in 2006, but this time with fws.

And after more than a year of on-the-ground work, and now involvement in Australia, I still love fws and the work this amazing team is achieving. So why am I with fws now? It’s basically a combination of great people and my real beliefs that this organisation will make a difference to many lives. And if you believe in fate...well maybe.

responsibilities

  • work with volunteers and local staff to develop our farms, gardens and environmental systems to produce all the food, water and energy that our Tanzanian friends need in a environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner
  • to build on the long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability of our project
  • to educate anyone who is interested: Westerners, Tanzanians or myself
  • to learn, and keep learning

favourite thing about fws

Simple really: I’ve seen a few organisations now, and few I have seen have such a good balance of grass-roots development, volunteer energy and organisation professionalism. I’ve had the amazing opportunity of 14 months on the ground and have really seen that the work fws is doing is making a difference, and it’s really appreciated by our Tanzanian friends.

my day job

I’m an environmental and agricultural engineer with a regional based consulting company. Yep, it’s a different world to the Tanzanian one with a different need and driving factors, but it’s nice to think that improvements are being made here too – however slow they may seem. But it does amaze me in other areas how similar these two worlds are.

passions

  • anything in the outdoors: hiking, kayaking, skiing, climbing or just sitting around a campfire
  • travel: the basic cheap type where you don’t see other travellers for days
  • teaching: just informally, but it doesn’t matter whether here or in Tanzania