Nearly a year since leaving the spotlight, Chris Bath has revealed her passion project.
After stepping away from her high profile career as Seven Nightly News anchor and Sunday Night host, Bath got a call from the Red Cross.
Recalls Bath: “The phone call went something like this: ‘I read you might have some time up your sleeve ... Want to go to East Timor?’”
She jumped at the chance. Having been to Timor-Leste (East Timor) in 1999 as a Seven reporter while the smoke was still lifting from the widespread trail of destruction left by local militia, Bath was keen to see how the country had healed.
The capital, Dili, “was in ruins,” recalls Bath, 49. “The people were scared and battered.”
With much of the country’s infrastructure destroyed, the East Timorese had to rebuild their world from scratch.
Helping that process, the Red Cross, through its Doing It Tough appeal, provided access to clean water in many of the impoverished villages.
Bath went to witness firsthand the results of that aid.
“The first time I was there I hadn’t seen much joy at all,” says Bath, who lives in Sydney. “This time to see joy on the faces of the young and old is an amazing experience. Real joy for just one tap. It was a lesson in how to be grateful for small things.”
Bath, who is now looking to return to a media role (“I want it to be the right thing for me,” she says), reveals that children outnumber adults in East Timor.
“Which tells you how many adults were killed in 1999,” says Bath, who has a teenage son. “The kids are irresistible, running around with nothing. Because there are so many kids and so few schools the kids go to school in shifts—either morning or afternoon.”
After earning a good income for many years, Bath felt it was "incumbent” on her to "give back”: "It’s great to go overseas and see all these projects, but there are Australian projects, too. There are things we need to do in our own backyard, particularly in Aboriginal communities. You can’t underestimate poverty in Australia. Kids go to school without having breakfast. We can do better."
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To make a tax deductible donation to Red Cross before 30 June visit redcross.org.au/DoingItTough.