Hugh Evans

Quick Facts

  • Name: Hugh Evans
  • Born: Melbourne, 1983
  • World Vision Youth Ambassador in Natal, South Africa, 2001
  • Young Australian of the Year 2004
  • Outstanding Young Person of the World 2004
  • Founder, The Oak Tree Foundation 


Hugh Evans is a young man who devotes himself to improving the lives of the underprivileged. Through his involvement with World Vision and various study tours, and as a beneficiary of a scholarship, Evans had the opportunity to spend time in the Philippines, India and South Africa. He said of his South African experience, ‘I felt as though I had to respond in some way to this injustice.’ Evans has argued with world leaders, slept in rubbish tips and had guns pointed at him while working to help people in underdeveloped countries.

Evans’s commitment to social justice was first demonstrated  when, as a Year 7 student, he organised his school’s involvement in the 40-Hour Famine, and raised one of the largest sums of money of any participating school. In 2003, following his experience as a volunteer in a home for orphaned children with AIDS, Evans established the Oak Tree Foundation, Australia’s only development agency run and staffed by volunteers under 26 years of age. In its first year, the Foundation raised $100,000 and attracted over 300 volunteers. The Foundation has branches all over the world, and promotes the benefits of education as a way of overcoming poverty. Evans summed up the purpose of this intention when he said: ‘We focus on how we … can empower developing communities through education in a way that’s sustainable.'

After being named as Young Australian of the Year in 2004, Evans used that recognition to increase awareness among Australian school students about developing countries, visiting dozens of schools and recruiting many students as volunteers for the Oak Tree Foundation. He set a fundraising target of $500,000 which was to be achieved through the ‘Thousand Dinners of Hope Campaign’, organised by volunteers. In between his commitments as a recipient of the Young Australian of the Year honour, he also managed to assist with the establishment of a community resource centre in a disadvantaged community in rural South Africa, and was instrumental in initiating the Leaders for Change program which sponsors the work of young people who are already empowering their communities in developing nations.

As further recognition of his inspirational work, Evans was named as one of 12 Outstanding Young Persons of the World for 2004. He was also central in establishing World Vision’s Youth Ambassador Program, which sponsors young Australians working in developing communities. In 2006 he became one of the key leaders behind the successful Make Poverty History campaign.

Evans is in constant demand as a guest speaker. He has completed a Science/Law degree at Melbourne's Monash University and is undertaking further study at Cambridge University. Evans says, ‘I am someone who really cares about making a difference in the developing world, so if that is what I can be seen as, then that's cool.’



Evans, H 2004, Stone of the Mountain, the Hugh Evans Story, Lothian Books.

Video Links

ABC: Big ideas: Hugh Evans on ending extreme poverty, 2 October 2009