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Our Travel Hero Jackie accepts her award via a heartfelt video message

(plus, see Jackie do an African dance!)

By Casey ONeill

Mickey Rourke thanked his dog, Justin Bieber thanked the ‘haters’ and Sarah Jessica Parker thanked the whole of New York but who cares … it’s time to answer the question on everybody’s lips – who is Australia and New Zealand’s Travel Hero Jackie Scott going to thank?

Watch her acceptance speech below to find out... 

Introducing Australia and New Zealand’s Travel Hero. 

Jackie won the title of Australia and New Zealand’s Travel Hero as result of her work with The Sandra Jones Centre in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Jackie stayed at the centre from February this year helping them in their mission to provide a home, love, education and support to children in crisis and girls who have been sexually abused.  

Transport is crucial to the work The Sandra Jones Centre does. In her time at the centre Jackie became concerned with the quality of transport available. “Our current truck is over 30 years old, it is breaking down (weekly), falling apart, smoking like a train and not safe to get our girls to the hospital when they are ready to give birth.” Jackie sprang into action: she launched a fundraising campaign and she entered Travel Heroes. Jackie returned to New Zealand last week comfortable knowing that her second family will soon to be riding stylishly (and more importantly safely) in their new truck.

(Pictured above) The team at Sandra Jones and their soon to be replaced truck. Jackie tells us “Driving out to the rural areas looking [out] for children and family members while the truck is falling apart and breaking down in the sizzling heat is hilarious and always leaves us with a story to tell.“

The Support for Jackie and The Sandra Jones Centre has Been Incredible

We are convinced that ‘Travel Hero’ is the only correct title for Jackie. To call her simply a volunteer or fundraiser is to wildly underestimate the impact she has had. Jackie has a talent for capturing the joy, love and genuine family-like bond between those that live at the centre. Through dedicated sharing of photos, updates, stories and videos Jackie has created a whole community of people ready to support the children and girls at The Sandra Jones Centre. 

When Jackie entered Travel Heroes, our Facebook feed went wild with messages of support. Here are some of the fabulous things Jackie’s supporters had to say …

“Her desire to help the African people buy a new vehicle for the children is noteworthy and worth the reward”

“Sandra Jones Centre is a home of hope and a chance of restoration for many abused children. It strives to give love and a sense of belonging to the down hearted. Bravo Jackie…”

“Jackie Scott is amazing. She is helping the ones who need it the most. And all the funds she will win go towards a new truck for an all girls orphanage in Africa. How cool is that!”

“Keep changing lives over there gf, you are defs a hero! xx“

Jackie fell in Love with Africa… and you will too!

To help Jackie spread her message, we wanted to share a few photos and snippets from Jackie’s adventure with you:

(Pictured above) Jackie and some of her new family members. She tells us: “My most treasured yarn would be when I took 12 of our older girls for a walk to the local super market. Arriving at the stall to buy my girls 12 lollipops the lady looked at me and asked "is this your family"? I kind of stood there for one very long second before it busted out of me "yes, this is my family, I am their Aunty Jackie".  I will never forget that moment of realising how much they mean to me.”

(Pictured above) Every hero needs a side kick and this is Jackie with hers. The wonderful smiling girl captured the hearts of Jackie’s friends and family when she helped Jackie with a language video and completely stole the show!

(Pictured above) This literal dumpsite is now a source of education for over 100 students. “I spend my Sunday afternoons at the city dump where we planted a Church underneath a tree where there is now a tent with a Steele roof and a School where we currently have 120 children.”

(Pictured above) Though Jackie returned to New Zealand earlier this week – the team at the centre have an adorable reminder of her. “Just last Friday we brought home a little two week old baby girl who had been abandoned under a bush. She had been left overnight as her little body was covered in mosquito bites. We brought her back to our babies home where is she is recovering soooo amazingly and has now been named.... Jackie Anne after her Aunty”

In her own words…  

When creating Travel Heroes one of our main goals was to inspire future travellers to get involved with fundraising and volunteering. In our opinion, the world can never have enough people like Jackie! Those following in her footsteps will find that being a Travel Hero –though tough – has immense rewards. In the world of Australia and New Zealand’s Travel Hero herself…

I think overall my time there has truly changed my life. Not in a over the top way but in a way that has changed my thinking and mind set towards being grateful for everything and everyone I have while not sweating the small stuff. In a third world country we didn’t have much but we had each other and that’s what brought me joy and strength every day to keep going and to keep serving the girls no matter how hard and fierce their stories or situations were. Some days were really tough helping the girls unravel what was locked up inside, but once their hearts unlocked like a key, that’s where the POP moments came in and lighted my day!


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