Our Mission

Our Communities Assist family is dedicated to transforming lives and communities in need. We work with local partners and experts from Australia and abroad to teach and facilitate sustainable practice within local communities. Through working and collaborating with local communities in Africa we hope to be the seed to change in alleviating the effects of poverty and the AIDS epidemic.


In 2006, Communities Assist founder John O’ Reilly arrived at a cramped and rundown orphanage in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. 68 children, aged from two months to 19 years were living with minimal food and running water in unsanitary conditions having been orphaned by AIDS or abandoned as a result of poverty. John took immediate action to ensure the children had adequate shelter, care and education, completing the building of a kitchen and bathrooms, whilst renting and furnishing an additional house in the nearest town so 30 of the children could be enrolled at the local school. Inspired and motivated to create a better future for all children living in similar conditions, John founded Communities Assist, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to creating and nurturing sustainable, positive communities.

John's vision for change began to permeate into social responsibility circles back in Australia which introduced our director and resident architect Mari. With the vision to create self-sustaining communities Greg joined the team as Australia’s top permaculture specialist to establish a demonstration site in Tanzania that we now call Rainbow Ridge.

The Communities Assist team is now based between Australia and Tanzania, driving constant change at our sustainable permalculture site at Rainbow Ridge. This is also a place where our CA Kids can call home. Through persistence, collaboration and cultural preservation our story shows that through community empowerment, global sustainability is an achievable reality.

Check our our volunteer programs to find out how you can get involved. 


At Communities Assist we raise funds to bring projects to life that:

  • Provide community education and training in sustainable technologies, such as permaculture design.

  • Create sustainable and productive living environments that maintain and restore ecosystems and communities while reducing poverty and ensuring food security, clean water and healthy soil.

  • Provide infrastructure, equipment and other items necessary for the development of education centres, pilot facilities and demonstration sites for the teaching and application of sustainable and development practices.

  • Design, teach and encourage community participation in cooperative programs to develop culturally appropriate, productive and sustainable environments to ensure communities can provide for their own needs now and in the future.

  • Provide education and create awareness within the community, through workshops and other community programs, on legal and human rights issues.