BRAVEHEARTS - Colleen's Kids
For the past three years, I have raised funds to support 109 disabled children and orphans, some with HIV, in Phnom Penh. In Cambodia, disability is seen as ‘bad karma’ and affected children are often abandoned; some are newborn infants and the oldest are in their late teens. Gerald and I went there to visit my old friend Colleen Kennedy, a woman so committed to the loving care of these children that she sold her business in Australia to move there and manage the orphanage. Colleen spent three years there, until eventually, ill health forced her return home to Australia.
We spent a heart wrenching day with her and the children, and were so moved and inspired – we were both in tears actually - that we promised her we would support the children, and took action. The children and their caregivers live in a large, airy and light filled community home with a big play area and a garden which produces vegetables for their meals. The caregivers are local “Mamas”, some of whom are disabled themselves, whose health and wellbeing are also cared for. Volunteers from Australia and elsewhere regularly assist. If you are interested, please contact me.
They are provided with medical attention, nutritional food, drinking water, sanitation, clothing, nappies (almost all the children require nappies, which are often just strips of fabric), rehabilitation, counselling, happy outings, and lots of love!
There is an ongoing need for money, and necessities like nappies and wipes, clothing, disinfectant, hand sanitizers and physiotherapy equipment. It was astonishing to realise that they have only a few wheelchairs for all these children, many of which are in very bad repair - yet a wheelchair made in Cambodia only costs AUS $200.
Will you please consider making a donation to assist these children and the Mamas? Please press the donation button to do so.
Sheela lives in Kathmandu, Nepal with her parents and two sisters. Gerald and I have sponsored her through the international organisation I volunteered with since she was five years old; we met her a year later, and many times since, and we fell in love with her. We came to know her and her family well, through letters, photos and emails; she was – and is - funny, bright, and beautiful. We continued to sponsor her after she left high school, when her health deteriorated suddenly, and just over two years ago, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour and needed an operation urgently. She was very brave and despite months of recuperation at home with her loving family, she lost her eyesight and is now completely blind. Nine months ago, she became ill again and suffers unbearable pain in her abdomen; she is now on morphine and several other medications and there is to date, no official diagnosis or prognosis.
Sheela’s father is ill and unable to work, her older sister is the sole provider for the family who live in very difficult circumstances. Her medical and financial needs remain high. Gerald and I continue to support Sheela in every way we can, and we raise funds through our network of friends to assist with her medical requirements; but her future remains uncertain.
Would you be willing to make a donation to Sheela?
Please see the donation area below to do so.
For the past 8 years my husband and I have been assistants on a Tantra program run by 2 wonderful South Australians........
Diane McCann and Robert Matthews, her husband, have run Tantra for Couples in Australia and Bali for almost thirty years. (They also run ‘The Goddess Within’ for women and ‘Man’s Inner Journey for men). I asked them if I could share what Tantra is and how we participate in their work, and this is what Diane wrote.
“Sandra and her beautiful husband Gerald have assisted us at Tantra for many years now. Their communication skills are exceptional (they’ve done ‘the personal work’) and the huge amount of love and respect they have for each other makes them an ideal couple to role model. They are courageous and epitomise what a relationship can be - for us all.
Assisting is a dance between knowing when to speak up and knowing when to hold the space and they both do that brilliantly. Sandra’s humour and absolute honesty and integrity shine through many times during every course we hold. Their teamwork is effortless and we believe they are a gift in the space.
So, where did you learn about sex and making love? And what decisions did you make?
And - what IS Tantra for Couples? Well, firstly - nothing weird happens - no nudity, no group sex, and no swinging from the chandeliers!
It’s a 5-1/2 day learning experience held in a beautiful, sacred place which affords deep healing for both men and women.
Tantra is lovemaking at its highest octave and it connects the passion of the physical with the deep love and intimacy of the heart, totally fulfilling both partners, and it profoundly alters our experience of love for our partner. It is a dignified and respectful place to learn new levels of communication with dignity and joy, and is often the missing piece of the puzzle for many couples.”
If you would like to learn more about any of Diane and Robert’s programmes, please go to their website: www.beyondtheordinary.net.au
Or ask me!
WORLD YOUTH INTERNATIONAL, Australia
In 1988, Robert Hoey, a 21 year old Australian founded World Youth International. Here is an exerpt from a book he was writing:
“I have had an extraordinary life, I have had adventures and experiences that have led me all over the world. Throughout my journeys, I have learnt much about the world, the people who inhabit our beautiful planet, and mostly, about myself. I know now without a doubt, that I am responsible for everything that I experience in my life.
I believe that every human being is here, on our planet, for a reason. I have a conviction that inside each of us is a spirit that wants to shine. To learn how to be the best we can be, to be more open and loving, to be powerful and compassionate, to build up our self esteem and courage, to follow our dreams and to expand our paradigms by being of service to humanity.”
Tragically, Robert died of a lung disease at 27 years old. His grieving parents Ann and Ralph, siblings Deb and Terry, and a band of committed friends and supporters, kept Robert’s legacy and the organisation alive and growing.
Robert was an extraordinary young man. I was enrolled in his vision from the first day I met him; I worked with the organisation for almost twenty years, and was one of a group of truly amazing people who assisted the organisation to grow after he died. I was the national trainer and fund raiser, I personally raised over $200,000 for international projects, including building an orphanage and a medical clinic in Kenya and an orphanage and a school in Nepal, of which I was patron. My particular passion was coaching our young participants, both individually and in facilitating our annual leadership training programmes in Adelaide. I took groups of young people overseas on eight week programmes to Nepal and Indonesia to develop their leadership and relationship skills. I led several marathon bike rides in Australia - the longest was 1200 kms - for teenagers to raise funds for our international projects, of which I am inordinately proud. World Youth became a focal point for our family, including my parents, our son Joshua participated in every bike ride and most fund raising events, Gerald was a board member, and in the final year, Chairman of the Board. For me, World Youth was one of the reasons I was here on the planet, my opportunity to serve the world. As Robert said:
“I believe that every human being is here on our planet for a reason; to expand our paradigms by being of service to humanity”.
Thank you Robert for giving me an avenue to pursue the things I am most passionate about, to learn and to grow, to sometimes cry and often contribute to the lives of thousands of people. I loved every single moment. I was devastated in 2009 when my participation ended.
What is YOUR passion? Where could you contribute, where is the place that lights you up? What could you achieve with time, skills, money, or love?
If we all did just a little just a LITTLE! – imagine what we could accomplish in the world! Go google.
BAGS OF DIGNITY, Australia
I am only involved in this in the smallest of ways. At Christmas time each year, this group of wonderful volunteers request the public to fill a handbag with essential items for homeless women. I like to make two, one in memory of my Mother, and one from me, and fill them with simple but good quality, unused items; for example, toothbrush and paste, comb, deodorant, lipstick and make-up, an umbrella, water bottle, tissues, sunscreen, sanitary items, pen and paper, small tubes of hand cream or face cream, soap, hand sanitiser, hair clips, a small Christmas decoration or gift, and I write a card with a special message.
We all have a handbag we haven’t used for a while (or Vinnies has a very good selection of good quality bags) and surplus cosmetics and other items. These bags make such a difference to the self esteem of women doing it very hard on the streets.
Would you be willing to fill a bag with some goodies? You can even organise a group in a community project - ask the women at work or in your neighbourhood, and make a difference to our Sisters living on the Street.
If we all did just a LITTLE! – imagine what we could accomplish in the world! www.sharethedignity.com.au
BOOMERANG BAGS, Australia
Berry, where I live, has an amazing community of people doing some very inspiring things. There is a large group of women, and a few men, committed to having our village plastic bag free, and volunteer their time making cloth bags which are left at participating stores for customers to use - and return - whilst shopping. I am a champion of this cause and these incredible women. I donated my trusty Bernina sewing machine but have only managed to make a few handles. You can invest as much or as little time as you like, you can cut out bags, iron handles, sew handles, sew bags, pack bags, pick up or deliver bags.
Boomerang Bags is a grassroots, community driven movement tackling plastic pollution at its source.
Volunteers from all walks of life get together to make re-usable ‘boomerang bags’ using recycled materials, as a means to provide a sustainable alternative to plastic bags.
The bags create a platform to start conversations, make friends, up-cycle materials and work towards shiftoing society’s throw away mentality to a more sustainable revolution of re-use – one community, needle and thread at a time!
Together we link hands globally to create a paradigm shift to a more connected and conscious society.
Interested? Visit the website for details: www.boomerangbags.org
This site does not take donations as it is not secure. Please send a note (below) and indicate how much you would like to donate and to which charity and I will get back to you with the banking details to make the donation securely.