Oliver Moraes started his Science degree at Monash University Australia  in the hope to study physiotherapy but his student exchange to Monash South Africa quickly turned Oliver’s attention to natural disasters and philanthropic work.

Oliver is a student who truly embodies the global spirit of Monash University, his focus on travel and community engagement has driven him to lead a variety of activities in Australia and internationally.

The Monash University Krishna Khetia Library, located at a primary school in Zandspruit, is a project which Oliver dedicates much of his time to. During his exchange in 2012, Oliver and another Monash students organised a range of fundraising activities to help source books for the school.

Oliver was in South Africa at the opening of the library in 2012, and remembers all-too-well how amazing it was to see the children at the school with resources they had never had before.
“I had only been working with the project for four months at the time of the opening, but I had become part of something far bigger then I could have imagined,” said Oliver.

Some of his fondest memories of South Africa are made up of the time spent with the primary and high school students from the local townships, such as Zandspruit. Townships have very poor literacy skills, and Oliver was able to help some of the students develop not only their academic but social skills as well.

Since returning to Australia, Oliver has set up a Facebook page called Making Change which is designed to match young people with volunteer opportunities; distribute care packages with food, clothing and blankets to members of Melbourne’s homeless community; and volunteers for a migrant homework club.

Oliver credits Monash University with providing a range of unique opportunities to combine his interest in travel, study and community engagement.

“I always wanted to go to Africa and Monash made it so easy having a campus there. The study abroad opportunities were a big part of the reason I decided to come to Monash,” said Oliver.

Oliver’s work in South Africa will continue in 2014, where he plans to continue his various community engagement activities. He hopes to combine his love of science and passion for helping people, to find his dream job.