40K Globe alumni: Where are they now? Abby Holmes

Through a short Q&A series, we are reliving and exploring some of our 40K Globe alumni experiences during their time in our former social enterprise internship program and learning more about what they are up to today. This time, we’re welcoming Abby Holmes of the 2015, 2016 & 2017 cohorts!

Where are you currently based and what is your occupation?

I am a midwife happily catching babies at Sunshine Hospital, over in West Melbourne. 

In what years did you participate in the 40K program?

My time spanned almost two years! I first interned as a Glober in December 2015 (and became hooked). Then I was invited back as a Team Leader, first in July 2016 with a group of six, and again in December 2016 with a group of ten. I concluded my 40K adventures as a Group Leader of the January 2017 cohort (from memory I think 120+ people, the biggest cohort 40K ever had in India).

Why did you choose to participate in the program?

I had been dreaming of going to India for years. I was a year into my Bachelor of Global Studies degree, doing a whole lot of writing and talking about social impact but feeling increasingly frustrated on how to actually put any of it into practice. I was sitting in my dorm room when the program application email came through. I remember telling my friend “this is exactly what I have been looking for”. I applied right then and there, and with a financial help loan was able to afford the trip. I didn’t know anyone else going and I certainly had no idea that this ‘month’-long program would become two years of the most formative experiences of my life.

What memories stand out most about your experiences?

My passion has always been maternal and child health, so my teams and I lead the Baby Bag initiative, which supplied kits containing basic hygiene products and nutrition education to women in the villages in the hope to make growing, birthing and nourishing their babies a little easier. So many of my beautiful memories are getting to meet and talk with pregnant women, mothers and babies every day in the streets. I learned so much about the way they live, and how hard living is without basic access to clean drinking water, fruit and vegetables, midwives and doctors, or proximity to a hospital. I have so many warm memories of families trusting us with their life stories, inviting us into their sacred spaces to provide education and run workshops.

How did your experience help you in your career?

40K not only solidified my desire to become a midwife, it gave me the self-esteem and confidence to actually do it. Before joining 40K I wouldn’t have identified as a leader in a million years. I had very little self-efficacy or voice. 40K leadership training completely redefined me and awakened me to what I was actually capable of. I mean it when I say I owe my career to 40K training. In particular, my mentors Mitch and Erin, who saw something in me from the beginning that I never saw in myself.

How has it impacted on your life and outlook?

My world absolutely flourished once 40K came into my life. My friends are the biggest gift of all. There’s nothing like months living in India for creating impenetrable, lifelong bonds. It is hard to describe to anyone else how unsettling it is to leave months in India and come back to our privileged lives. We held each other through this transition shock, and have supported one another through many more life experiences in the seven years since then.40K has also shaped the impact I hope to make in the world as a midwife. I dream of working with birthing communities in outback Australia, and I hope to join Médecins Sans Frontières in assisting childbirth overseas in poverty and conflict zones. I eventually want to lead my own business as a private midwife outside of the system. 40K gave me both the skills and the community that allow me to dream this big.

If it weren’t for the Globe experience, I wouldn’t have a group of lifelong friends by my side. I wouldn’t be going to work every day doing a job that I truly believe in. And I wouldn’t have the self-worth of knowing that I can actually make a positive social impact in this world. 40K is a part of me

Keep your eyes on our blog for more alumni interviews. If you’re a former 40K glober and would like to take part in the series, please reach out —we’d love to hear from you!

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About Plus Education

Plus Education is the group operating name of registered Australian charity, The 40K Foundation Australia Ltd, and its subsidiary organisations, 40K Plus Education in India and Cambodia.

We are committed to child safety and creating a safe learning environment for children.

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