AUSTRALIAN VOLUNTEERS ABROAD CELEBRATES YEAR 35

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CANBERRA, Australia (October 12, 1997 - PACNEWS)---The Australian Volunteers Abroad (AVA) program, which has benefited most Pacific Island countries, last week celebrated the 35th anniversary of its formation.

The AVA program was established in the early 1960s to provide technical assistance as well as to build personal relationships with people in the developing world.

Since then, some 4,000 Australians (known as AVAs) have taken part in the program, which now operates in more than 40 countries.

Among the next group of volunteers to leave Australia in the coming weeks will be a curator for the Cook Islands Museum and a scriptwriter/producer for the Manus School of the Air in Papua New Guinea.

At present there are 37 AVAs working in PNG, 18 in Tonga, 16 in the Solomon Islands, eight in the Cook Islands, and six in the Marshall Islands. They include lawyers, educators, nurses, tradesmen, technicians and scientists.

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