31 January, 2024

To mark our 40 year anniversary, we wanted to hear from some of our staff and showcase a significant experience or memory they have from their time at ADRA.

Today’s story comes from Alison Young, Executive Assistant to the CEO. Alison has served ADRA, both internationally and in Australia, for over 18 years. But her first introduction to ADRA was through her husband, Greg, in 1999. At the time, Greg was the Finance and Marketing Director at ADRA Australia, and his role meant he spent a lot of time on the road.

“Greg would disappear for about three weeks every two months at a mimimum, leaving me at home to work and to look after our teenage daughters,” Alison said.

As far as Alison was concerned, Greg’s job with ADRA was taking time away from her and her daughters. She wanted to be supportive of his role, but it was tough not to feel resentful. But that all changed when Alison was invited along on an evaluation trip.

Greg and Alison on her first trip with ADRA

Alison on her first trip with ADRA to Vietnam in 1999

“I went with him on a ‘Cow Bank Evaluation’ in Vietnam,” she said. ADRA’s cow bank helped participants breed and raise cows to help with the manual labour in the fields. An ADRA staff member from Cambodia was also present for the cow evaluation, and he was impressed by the cow bank.

“The success rate was pretty high for the whole program,” Alison said. “I remember San (ADRA staff) from Cambodia said it was amazing how many crops they got out of the rotation of their rice. They were getting an extra crop a year in Vietnam.”

ADRA’s cow bank helped improved life for farmers in Vietnam

With a cow bank came the need for a vet. When Alison was there, the local vet was visiting and a little boy expressed that, having seen what the vet did with the cows, declared that he too wanted to be a vet when he grew up.

“That trip changed my view of ADRA and the work that it did,” Alison said. “I didn’t mind so much when Greg travelled after that.”

It wasn’t until a few years later that Alison joined ADRA as a staff member. She’s had roles with ADRA Asia, ADRA International, and most recently ADRA Australia.