Tanya Pinto | Class of 1994


A member of the Class of 1994, Tanya Pinto has gone on to do some amazing things in the world, which saw her become one of the youngest recipients of the 2012 John Curtin Medal for her humanitarian leadership and service.

After completing her Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honours from Curtin University in 1998, she migrated to the United States and began working in Brand Management for one of the largest independent advertising agencies in the US at the time.

Responsible for brands such as Nokia, Travelocity and many others, Tanya was able to travel around the US and the world producing advertising and brand campaigns.

After about 7 years in advertising however, she felt the need to dedicate some time to service.

“My grandfather was an orphan and although he passed away before I was born, I’d always wanted to volunteer at an orphanage,” she explained.

“So I decided to take a sabbatical from my job in 2005 and left for three months to volunteer at Mother Teresa’s orphanage and home for the dying in Calcutta, India.”

Her decision and the experiences at Mother Teresa’s home were life changing.

Volunteering at the Mother Teresa’s Home in Calcutta in 2005.

After returning to the US, she founded her own non-profit organisation, with the mission of raising funds to help orphans and vulnerable children.

The charity she began in 2006 has now raised almost $2 million to provide over 12,000 children in 12 developing countries with aid that includes food, supplies, clothing, toilets, water wells, education sponsorship and building two schools.

“I was inspired by Mother Teresa whose faith in action was evident. She said if you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

“Volunteering in India and seeing the immense poverty and suffering left me both sad and overwhelmed.

“However, I realised the immense wisdom of her message and decided to help one child in need with simple clothing and school supplies - and that is how Baal Dan started,” she explained.

“I began raising small amounts of money and would purchase and donate to orphanages whatever supplies I could with the funds raised and from there it grew into what it is today.

“I did not know when I started Baal Dan that we would raise enough money to build one school, let alone two.

“I take every day and every dollar raised as they come and try to do my best with it. I believe that one of the ways to break the cycle of poverty is with education,” she said.

“However, children who are hungry or homeless cannot study - they need to be helped at the most fundamental level, ensuring their human rights to shelter, food, clean water, sanitation and education. It all works together.”

“I hope to continue Baal Dan, raising money and support to help children in need and pray we can all do our part to make life easier for little ones who through no fault of their own are born into places and circumstances where there is unimaginable and unfair suffering and poverty.”

Along with overseeing Baal Dan’s operations, Tanya explained she has also always held full time jobs to cover most of the charity’s administrative and travel costs, so that almost 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to help children in need.

Following the formation of her own boutique consulting company for large Non-Profits and Non-Government Organisations like World Vision International for five years, she joined Microsoft in 2017 as Market Research Director and now holds the role of Principal Product Planner.

Tanya said her school years at Av԰ Christi are filled with fond memories, and that she has been able to keep in touch with many from her graduating class.

“I especially remember wonderful teachers such as Mr Papineau, Mrs Hawley, Ms Egan, Mr Burns, Mr Martino and too many others to name.

“Although I haven’t lived in Australia since 1998, I’ve also been able to meet up with friends from Av԰ in the UK and USA while they have also lived, travelled, or worked overseas. 

Concluding with a message to the students of Av԰, Tanya expressed the importance of making the most of the school experience and the privileges given. 

“I still remember the Year 12 retreat, rice bowl days, school concerts and events and they all made their mark on me and the person I am today.

“A private Catholic education will set you up with a strong foundation in life – not just with education but with enduring values and habits that will serve you well in your life.

“Teenage years are often filled with insecurity and pressure – nurture friendships and be kind to all so everyone has a better school experience. And don’t forget to have fun!” she concluded.

Av԰ Communications