Moira Kelly AO

For over 30 years, Ms Moira Kelly has been a humanitarian worker and advocate for children living in poverty or in war zones.

Change Agent

Moira's belief in the power to change the world for the better, her insight, determination and her positive attitude have made her an extraordinary role model. Her innovative thinking and leadership have supported some of the world's most disadvantaged children in countries including Australia, India, South Africa, Albania and Romania.

Early in her career, Moira worked as a special education assistant for Aboriginal children and as a probation officer for troubled young people. Later, as Regional Director of the organisation Nobody's Children, she led volunteers to provide education, dental and medical services to people in refugee camps. In this role Moira advocated strongly for the need to provide children with the best possible care, and organised the medical evacuation of hundreds of critically ill and injured children to overseas hospitals. This work involved managing a large international network of doctors, medical staff, philanthropists and volunteers.

In 1999, Moira established the Children First Foundation (Australia). With assistance from Rotary, the Foundation purchased a farm near Kilmore and built a facility for children in need of extensive rehabilitation. After their treatment, the children return to their families and communities and, where necessary, are provided with additional services such as funding for housing and education.

After participating in a medical rescue mission to Gaza in February 2004, Moira established Global Gardens of Peace. This project aims to build safe play spaces for children growing up in communities affected by war or natural disasters.

As an ambassador for Carers Victoria, Moira has raised the profile of carers and raised awareness of the challenges they experience. In her personal life she has adopted two homeless Iraqi boys and is caring for a girl with disabilities from Burma. Most recently, Moira has shared guardianship for formerly conjoined twins Trishna and Krishna.