Viv Benjamin

20 Jan 2015

Author: Jane Albert



Viv Benjamin believes history shapes us but we shape the future. Reading her background it’s clear where her fighting spirit, determination to right injustices and ambition come from. From fundraising as a child to organising acclaimed anti-poverty concerts, Viv is empowering millions of women to lift themselves out of poverty.
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Director, Opportunity International Australia

The AFR and Westpac Group’s 100 Women of Influence, 2013
Global poverty campaigner


Viv Benjamin believes history shapes us but we shape the future. It is clear where Viv’s fighting spirit, determination to right injustices, ambition and courage come from. Benjamin is the granddaughter of Jewish escapees who fled Nazi Germany for Australia where they devoted their lives to others. She is also the daughter of a Filipino woman who migrated from her rural village for better opportunities in Australia. With a double degree in law and international politics from Monash University, her passion for social justice started at 14 when she devised the Cambodian Bombs Begone program, raising tens of thousands of dollars in schools around Australia. At 16 she committed to ending the world’s extreme poverty. Joining anti-poverty organisation Oaktree, Viv organised the 2006 Make Poverty History Concert, attracting U2’s Bono and Pearl Jam along with headline news, then later became the organisation’s CEO at 23. Today Viv continues to fight injustice as Director of Opportunity International Australia, a leading micro-finance NGO empowering millions of women to lift themselves and their communities out of poverty through entrepreneurship.

Australian experiences, global impact. This story is one of a series profiling young Australians, or young people with an Australian education, identified as future leaders and decision-makers of courage, imagination and will. Meet our 19 Future Chasers and read their inspiring stories.