Moira Kelly AO
Australian Humanitarian and Founder of the Children First Foundation
Moira Kelly commenced her selfless contributions to the less fortunate at the very young age of 13. At the age of 20 she left home and went and worked with Aboriginal children in Western Australia.
At 22, Moira worked alongside Mother Theresa in Calcutta and on returning to Australia worked with AIDS sufferers and established a “special unit” for boys with behavioural problems at Sutherland Homes.
At 26, Moira travelled to Botswana where she worked with the Kalahari bushmen on a self-help project then travelled on to Johannesburg and New York.
While overseas, Moira worked with some of the world’s most least fortunate people. She has carried out large scale humanitarian projects and has been there to assist desperate and sick individuals in Johannesburg, the Bronx (USA), Romania, Bosnia and Albania. She has set up soup kitchens, refugee camps, dental clinics, schools, managed an AIDS hospital and adult education programs. Moira has been recognised with many community, national and international awards for her humanitarian work.
In 1989 at just 25 she was awarded a Queen’s Trust Achiever Award and the Victoria Young Achiever Award for Community Service. In 1994, Moira was awarded the inaugural Sir Edward Dunlop Award for humanitarian service and in 1995 Moira’s efforts in Bosnia were honoured by a meeting with the Queen at Buckingham Palace. In 2001, Moira received a number of national and international awards for her incredible work. She was awarded the White Flame Award given by Save the Children to recognise outstanding service to disadvantaged children. She also was one of 10 people recognised internationally for their contribution to the world. In Australia, Moira received the Prime Minister’s Award for outstanding community service and was made an Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia in recognition of her “outstanding service to the Australian community through the provision of social support and service for disadvantaged people, and to the international community through the provision of humanitarian relief and assistance and the organisation of medical treatment for those affected by war or insurrection”.
She was 2013 Victorian of the Year and her work has been the subject of three documentaries; ‘A Compassionate Rage’; ‘Brothers in Arms’; and Foreign Correspondent.
Her work has been acknowledged internationally and carries on today through the Children First Foundation.
The Moira Kelly Creating Hope Foundation provides comfort, hope, protection and safety to children and displaced women from overseas and locally who need it most.
The Foundation brings to Australia children from overseas with medical conditions that local doctors are unable to treat. It also works with Australian children and displaced women in need who are referred to Moira for care.
The most needy children and families are housed in a home in inner Melbourne which the Foundation manages and they are provided with medical care and support.
The Foundation is staffed entirely by volunteers and its work is funded almost entirely by charitable donations.
The highlight of the conference was an address by Moira about her work in many war-torn, impoverished areas of the world. Her work focuses on the children; the innocent victims in all this and her marvelous work in giving these young people a good quality of life. Moira is the most inspirational speaker I have ever listened to. Her candid honest approach is both powerful and tender and it is impossible not to feel part of her struggle as she details her moving experiences with us. It is rare and totally refreshing to listen to someone who has dedicated her life to helping others expecting nothing in return. I would highly recommend her as a speaker for any event.