Our story

The Assisi story

Assisi’s story began in 1974 when Sister Stella arrived in Victoria, Australia to learn about dairy farming. Her aim was to start a food security and nutrition project in India. In Australia, Sr Stella worked with local farmers and returned home on a cargo ship with 30 friesian cows and three bulls to start the project. Retaining five cows and one bull, Sister Stella started Assisi Farm and Training Centre (AF&TC) in Tamil Nadu. Selected community members were given dairy farm training. Each local trainee at AFTC was encouraged to motivate others in their communities to achieve household food security. The idea of a community-based model for development started to take shape. Assisi Aid Projects was formed in 1985 in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia to provide funding and strategic planning to help support the project.

Assisi today

Over the past 40 years, Assisi has grown from a mere vision into an expanding humanitarian aid organisation, empowering communities to make positive changes in their lives. Assisi is currently working in communities in Cambodia and India.

Mission, Vision and Values

Mission & objectives

Assisi facilitates and nurtures development initiatives that are community–led, locally relevant and create equal opportunity for all members of society, in order to:

  • enable communities to be their own agents of change – strengthening self-determination and empowerment.
  • enable women and those typically marginalised, to participate fully in society with equal opportunity.
  • build resilience in vulnerable communities through education and training
    facilitate leadership which is inclusive and fair.
  • raise awareness of Social justice, Gender equality, Human rights.
  • ensure gender equality and empower women for equal rights.
  • promote environmental stewardship and respect for the natural world.


Our vision is for an inclusive and sustainable world by creating equal opportunity for all, to acquire the education, skills and resources necessary to build self-sufficient and prosperous lives.


Assisi Aid Projects is a signatory to the Code of Conduct of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and committed to ACFID’s values:

  • Sustainable, fair and equitable solutions that address the root cause of symptoms of poverty and disadvantage.
  • Accountability to all our stakeholders for our performance and integrity
  • Building creative and trusting relationships with the communities in which we work:
    • based on an understanding of their history and culture
    • giving priority to their interests
    • involving communities to the maximum extent possible in the design, implementation and evaluation of projects and programs, encouraging self reliance
    • valuing men and women, boys and girls in ways that respect the dignity, uniqueness and intrinsic worth of every person
    • supporting without consideration of the racial and religious affiliations of recipients
  • Active learning, innovating and continuously improving our aid and development work
  • Honesty and transparency in all our dealings
  • Respecting, protecting and promoting internationally recognised human rights including civil and political, economic, social and cultural rights and with particular emphasis on gender equality, the protection of children, people with a disability and the rights of minorities and vulnerable and marginalised groups.
  • Environmental sustainability in both our aid and development and domestic operations.
  • Strengthening civil society in the countries where we work.

 Thematic focus

Assisi will only participate in projects where it is able to add value, and where there is a focus on at least one of the following thematic areas:

1. Community economic development  – agriculture, fisheries and water

  • Increasing incomes and economic participation of those living in poverty.
  • Enhancing food, nutrition and water security.

2.  Gender equality; empowering women and girls

Gender inequality persists in our region, undermining economic growth, human development and poverty reduction. Gender equality and empowering women has been shown to contribute to growth, development and stability. Our programs work towards:

  • Improving women’s voices in decision-making, leadership, and peace-building
  • Improving women’s economic empowerment
  • Ending violence against women and girls

3. Education

  • Supporting teacher training and improved learning assessment
  • Supporting technical education, skills development and training aligned with labour market needs
  • Increasing opportunities for girls to learn
  • Supporting inclusion of children with a disability in education

4. Health

  • Context-specific, targeted to meet country and regional needs
  • Focus on sustained health improvements for all people, supported through monitoring and evaluation
  • Support the development of sustainable health systems, essential for disease prevention and maintaining services and interventions at scale
  • WASH – hygiene promotion and education on sanitation

Assisi is a non-denominational agency and does not promote or support any religious or political adherence.


Assisi Strategic Plan 2014-17

Download Assisi’s Strategic Plan 2014-2017 here.

The 2017-2020 Strategy will be available in late June 2017.

Annual Reports

To download the 2015/16 Annual Report please click here.

To download the 2014/15 Annual Report please click here.

To download the 2013/15 Annual Report please click here.