Our story

Our group name (“MESCH”) is an anagram for "Medical and Educational Sustainable Community Help. We are a not-for-profit Australian volunteer organisation. When it first started, in a cafe in Newcastle, we were trying to find a name that emphasised 3 commitments:

  • to mesh with communities instead of imposing new systems
  • work on projects based on education and training rather than providing services
  • build communities rather than focus on one area

Since our projects at that stage involved teaching doctors and nurses skills in the operating room and teaching blind people conversational English (so they could get money from their jobs as masseurs), the name fitted quite well. Our organisation is vibrant and organic so although our aims and our commitment have never changed, the breadth and extent of our involvement has. MESCH is a combination of things which all work together. Now, community has become larger and language is more occupational in its’ focus. Our name still fits!   

Our approach

We see ourselves as being opportunity makers – both for our developing country partners and our volunteers. When we first establish a connection with a community, an organisation or a leader, we 

  • listen to them
  • begin an understanding of their needs and the context of those
  • look at their vision

Mahatma Gandhi once said “be the change you want to see in this world”. Implicit in this is that change must be sustainable. Since we are only in a community for a few weeks, it is vital to establish mutual trust – the building block of successful collaboration. Joining (meshing) with existing systems so as to share, rather than impart, knowledge means people are more comfortable, learn new ideas faster and continuity is more certain. At times the collaboration does not work - fortunately, only twice over the last 7 years! This happens when perceptions are different (eg they want equipment/ infrastructure and no training) or their capacity for change is not what we thought it was. 
We are not a religious organisation nor are our goals or processes controlled by any political group. We are a registered charity and, in recognition of our work, have been given deductible gift recipient status by ATO and DFAT as an overseas aid gift deductible organisation. Our trips have always been self-funded.

Does this sound like the kind of change you want to be part of?

Our commitment to you

We are honest and transparent. We will tell you our failures as well as our wins
We warmly welcome any input and we will always answer your questions. Please feel free to email info@mesch.org.au  or use the CONTACT US tab and one of us will get back to you

John Cassey

(for MESCH)

10 January 2015