Archive for the ‘Charity or Community Service Posts’ Category

A lot can happen in just a couple of weeks.

Since Tony Abbott became the beneficiary of Labor losing the election on September 7th 2013, quite a bit has happened.

The axe has already fallen with some major heads of government departments sacked.

We have discovered that AusAID is to have drastic cuts put in place to ensure that the worlds neediest feel the pain of the Coalitions arrival.

The entire board of NBN co has resigned, thus paving the way for Turnbull to start erecting mirrors and firing up the smoke machines that make up his broadband policy. Never mind, the ink is probably still drying on Murdoch’s agreements to lease out his Foxtel lines to the government for broadband, giving him control of our internet as well as our news.

We have seen Abbott appoint himself as the Minister for Women’s Affairs while ensuring that there is only one woman in his Ministerial team, and only one woman in a dozen Parliamentary Secretaries. Given the lack of women in Abbott’s caucus I would say he has failed as a Minister already.

Excuses about being appointed due to merit rather than a quota system not only acts as an insult to female members of past caucus’, but are also hypocritical as the Coalition have a quota system in place for National Party members, as well as for MP’s from individual states.

Promises about ending the “Carbon Tax” immediately have now stretched out to within three years.

Immediately or within 3 years.... whichever comes last....

Immediately or within 3 years…. whichever comes last….

So what about Abbott’s big promise to stop the boats.

Well, this policy has had more face-lifts than the entire Jackson 5 combined.

Scott Morrison has continually told us that they were using the proven policies used under John Howard’s regime that was responsible for the “children overboard” fiasco, however these policies seem to have changed somewhat drastically.

Since the “Stop The Boats” policy and range of bumper stickers were introduced, we have seen the policy bend to “Turn Back The Boats”, something that would be unnecessary if they had indeed been stopped. We now have also been told we won’t even find out if boats are in fact being turned around.

Just heading out to move the goalposts...

Just heading out to move the goalposts…

Since then there has been towing the boats back to Indonesia, buying the boats off the people smugglers and giving them a second pay packet, paying poor Indonesians for information, building transit ports in Indonesia, and not letting the public know about boat arrivals until the Minister feels it is necessary to brief the public.

Whilst I’m sure Scott Morrison sitting on asylum seeker arrivals information and waiting for a day when it’s old news, or releasing information on a busy news day so it gets lost may do wonders for their spin doctors, it won’t stop any boats at all. The excuse about people smugglers not getting the arrival information is utter crap, they will still be able to get it when Morrison decides to finally bless us with its release.

This is the kind of censorship of information that we expect from North Korea, not Australia. One can only imagine the outcry if this had been done under Gillard or Rudd.

Fans of the Coalitions new censorship of asylum seeker information applaud the policy

Fans of the Coalitions new censorship of asylum seeker information applaud the policy

A rich nation paying poor and desperate people cash to dob in their mates and neighbours is a brilliant idea and sure to not bring in false information. It certainly worked a treat in Afghanistan for the US extraordinary extradition programme, how many lawsuits are they up to now?

Funny though, I don’t remember any of these policies under John Howard. Wasn’t it his policies we were going to be reverting to? Has that changed now as well?

Anyway, Indonesia seem real impressed with the carry-on from the Coalition, labelling their policies as “Offensive”.

Not that our two nations have policies that “conflict” or anything. That would be much too harsh a word to use for the Coalition who have appointed a 3 Star General and describe their policy as a military operation.

5 Star screw up if you ask me…

Anyway, we hear a hell of a lot about asylum seekers before they arrive here, but what about after they arrive?

Those who are granted asylum status in Australia are not seeking asylum because they have come from a background of luxury, or a comfortable existence, yet we seem to forget about them.

Asylum Seekers arrive in Australia with a vast number of issues that they are by and large left to deal with by themselves.

Thankfully there are organisations that are there to help although most are faith based and run by a religious organisation.

Today I wanted to share a little about one that isn’t. Their name is Global Backyard.

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Global Backyard was founded in 2010 by Ruby Madan, who previously set up and ran the NSW government-funded Refugee Mentoring Programme until funding dried up after a change of government in NSW in 2011.

Today Global Backyard helps to guide refugees through their struggles and assisting them with becoming settled in Australia.

Some of the issues that asylum seekers arrive with are things like post traumatic stress as many are coming from war zones or have lived under an oppressive regime. Many arrive with children who are behind in their education. Others have qualifications that are not recognised in our country, skill shortages, or pharmaceutical requirements.

All of them arrive with a need to urgently find a job, accommodation, and friends.

Many are forced to attempt to navigate these issues with language difficulties as well.

This is where Global Backyard becomes involved.

One of the younger members of the Global Backyard community

One of the younger members of the Global Backyard community

Global Backyard is a not for profit charity and have helped countless numbers of refugee’s with more issues than you can probably imagine.

Global Backyard is composed of a team of volunteers who give refugee’s the one on one support that they need to do all manner of tasks big and small however mundane.

On a practical level, I help Namlo fill out official forms, look for work and apply for grants for the organisation he has set up to help Tibetan people. I generally try and explain how things work in the Australian system. My friend is an intelligent, educated, resourceful man who deserves the dignity of doing things for himself with the help of a little bit of local knowledge, insight and support from a native resident along the way.

 Global Backyard volunteer Patricia on Tibetan refugee Namlo

Some of the countries that Global backyard has helped refugees from are:

  • Afghanistan
  • Bhutan
  • Burundi
  • Iraq
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sri Lanka
  • Syria
  • Tibet
  • Uganda
  • Vietnam

Global Backyard has helped many refugees adjust to life in a new country when starting with absolutely nothing.

The work being done is so important that in 2011 Global Backyards services won them the NSW Building Inclusive Communities Award which is sponsored by Macquarie University and the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW.

From Global Backyards 2012 calendar

From Global Backyards 2012 calendar

With the Coalition now in power at Federal level as well as State there is likely to be even less government funding for services, and as such an even greater reliance on the not for profit charity groups.

With this in mind Global Backyard need our help to provide their vital services.

Tax deductible donations can be made via the below bank account details.

Global Backyard Refugee Network Inc.

 BSB # 062 220

 Acc # 1018 6500

Or for those who have the skills and time as well as the heart to make a difference, there are a number of areas where volunteers are needed. Areas such as

  •  TSOL Teachers
  • Migration Law Experts
  • Fundraisers
  • IT and Web design and management specialists 
  • Social enterprise facilitators

As City Of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore explains it

 “The Global Backyard Refugee Network’s efforts to help refugees and promote acceptance play an important role in changing the way most people see our newest Australians. Global Backyard supports refugees by creating educational, social and workplace opportunities. It helps vulnerable people connect with others and rebuild their lives, and helps educate the community about the refugee experience.”

 If that sounds like something you would like to be a part of then you can contact them via info@globalbackyard.com.au however they are understaffed and busy so don’t be put off if you don’t receive a response in a hurry.

Whatever you can do to help will be greatly appreciated as these people tend to arrive in need of a helping hand rather than a hand out.

Now that Tony Abbott is in the lodge, this will be needed more than ever. After all we all know what Abbott says when it comes to a helping hand….

 “Look mum, no hands”

 

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Today I wanted to do a post on something that there is nowhere near enough of in this country. Organ Donors.

As I type this there are around 1600 people desperately waiting for organs.

There are a lot of myths surrounding organ donation but here are a couple of facts that might prompt you into action.

1600 patients waiting does not sound like a high number at all, although it is still 1600 too many. Most would consider with the number of organ donors who have registered that those waiting would receive the organs they require pretty quickly.

Alas, this is not the case.

In 2012 there were only 354 donors of organs in the whole of Australia.

You may think that number is a gross exaggeration, surely there must have been more than that you would think. However the sad fact is there wasn’t.

The facts are that very few people who have consented to organ donation die in circumstances where their organs are able to be used. In order to use an organ doctors need to be able to remove it quickly and in a sterile environment, which pretty much means that someone has to pass away in a hospital to be able to donate.

This significantly reduces the odds for the needy hopeful recipient.

In fact it is only around 1% of those who consent to organ donation that will end up in a position to give someone else the greatest gift of all, and this is purely down to their location or circumstances when passing away.

To make matters worse over 40% of those people still end up not donating organs because their family override their decision to donate. This is not for any bitter and twisted reasons it is purely because they are not entirely sure of their deceased relatives wishes to donate and so play it safe and do not allow the donation to take place.

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This is why choosing to be an organ donor should not be kept secret, in fact quite the opposite. In order to give the gift of life donors need to ensure people know about their decision to be a giver, particularly their family.

For a surgeon whose entire career revolves around saving lives on a daily basis there must be few things more heartbreaking than having access to a willing donor taken away from them because the prospective donor never got around to telling their family.

For those who are unsure how to raise the subject with their family, or just what to say, the good people at Donate Life have produced a booklet which can be viewed as a PDF via the link below.

Organ Donation Family Discussion Kit

To those who wish to register to donate you can register online via this link, phone 1800 777 203, visit a Medicare Service Centre or your local GP should also have registration forms.

Even if you have ticked the box on your driver’s license it is still important that you register, in fact in NSW the previous register held by NSW Roads and Maritime Services has been decommissioned.

The Australian Organ Donor is the only national register, and the only register than is linked to your Medicare number, and it can also be accessed 24 hours a day by medical staff.

organ-donation

For those seeking more information on organ donation and transplants I can suggest checking out the two Facebook pages linked below as a starting point.

Donate Life

Transplant Australia

We live in the “Lucky Country”, so pass on some good luck today by registering to become an organ donor.

It will be the best decision you make all day and it could well be the greatest two gifts you will ever give.

Life and hope.

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Anzac Day means different things to different people.

To some I’m sure it’s just an excuse for a day off, for some it is a reason to honour those who gave so much for our freedom, for some it’s a time to pay respects to fallen comrades, for some it is a celebration of the Australian spirit.

However you choose to spend your time on ANZAC Day, be it at a march, at a dawn service, or watching the events in TV, or even just at home doing nothing, I hope you spare a moment to consider the sacrifice our armed forces, past and present make for us and be thankful for it.

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To me, this is the most important of the public holidays. It has nothing to do with the birthday of a head of state living in another country. It has nothing to do with the commercialism and consumerism of the religious holidays of Christmas and Easter. Instead it is all about pride, mateship, honour and sacrifice, things that embody the Aussie Spirit..

For some however ANZAC Day will be the hardest day of the year as it will bring back memories that you or I can barely imagine. These are the men and women who suffer from post-traumatic stress, and unfortunately there are many of them.

I should point out that it is not only war veterans that suffer from post-traumatic stress, it comes in different forms and can afflict anybody from any walk of life. It is a common condition with those in high stress jobs such as police and other emergency services. It is also common in nursing, and in the care industry, however it can be brought on by any bad experience and affect someone for the rest of their lives. Some people witness an accident and that can cause it, some may have a bad experience in a hospital and suffer from it as a result, there are countless ways it can be brought on.

Given that today is ANZAC day I wanted to talk today about an organisation that I came across recently that I believe provide a fantastic service to our returned troops and their families.

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The Young Diggers are an organisation that has been around for about three and a half years now. They provide many essential services to servicemen/women and their families. In particular I wanted to touch on the Dog Squad programme which is designed to help returned troops who are suffering from severe post-traumatic stress.

The Dog Squad places dogs with soldiers which have returned from duty suffering severe post-traumatic stress. Many of these returned troops have been suicidal, and have shut themselves off from the outside world.

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Anyone who has ever owned a dog knows the unconditional loyalty and friendship that a dog provides, they are not called man’s best friend for nothing.

However the dogs in the Dog Squad are no ordinary dogs, not in the slightest. The companion dogs are expertly trained to the highest level by experienced trainers. So highly trained are these dogs that they are actually classed as “assistance animals” meaning that they have as much access as a guide dog.

The dogs used are not bred for the role, and do not come from pet stores or breeders. The dogs that are used in the Dog Squad are sourced from RSPCA pounds and animal rescue centres , which means the dogs themselves often come from a traumatic background and by becoming a part of the programme are being saved from a fairly grim future, most would have been put down.

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The difference a companion dog makes in these returned troops lives is hard to measure as it is so monumentally huge. One only has to look at the footage such as that below to see the bond between the troops and their companion dogs.

When you consider that approximately 20% of troops returning from active duty in Afghanistan will suffer from post-traumatic stress at some level, it is easy to see just how vital this programme is.

The Dog Squad is not the only service that Young Diggers provide, far from it.

Young Diggers act as a major support for not only the returned troops, but also their families. It is the families that troops will use for support whilst on duty and after they return, so Young Diggers organises support for families so that they can be better prepared for when their family member returns from duty.

Young Diggers provides professional assistance with DVA claims, as dealing with Veterans Affairs can be confusing, time-consuming, and often complicated, particularly if someone has suffered physical or mental trauma.

Another service offered is help seeking employment. Young Diggers run programmes that assist returned soldiers find employment, and can assist with training programmes that will help prepare soldiers for regular work, both mentally and with skills training.

Young Diggers also offer emergency accommodation and provide counselling for troops and their families.

One of the reasons that Young Diggers play such an important role is that for those in the armed forces it is an organisation that they can feel comfortable with. Men and women from the armed services can deal with someone who speaks at their level, and completely understands their situation because they have walked in the same boots.

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Young Diggers are a Not-For-Profit organisation that by their own wishes receive absolutely no government funding or grants. All of the organisations activities are funded by donations received by either individuals, or companies that provide sponsorship.

Young Diggers have assisted over 7,000 of our returned troops and their families across the country, something that when I spoke with their President, John Jarrett about yesterday he was immensely proud of, and rightly so.

This ANZAC Day, we will honour the fallen and remember their sacrifice, however I also hope that we will not forget those who have returned and are still suffering.

Anzac-day

You can find out more about Young Diggers or make a donation via their website via this link. Young Diggers can also be found on Facebook here.

Before I go, Young Diggers are looking for a 20 seater bus with wheelchair access for their Queensland office. If anybody can assist with one they would greatly appreciate it, they can organise for repair work on the body or motor if required. If you feel you can help, just contact them via their website or phone numbers listed on there and tell them Wixxy sent you.

Lest We Forget.

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

Like Wixxyleaks on Facebook here

This morning I awoke to find a message in my Facebook inbox or whatever it’s called on Facebook, and I thought I’d tell you what it was about as I thought it was important, especially today.

This message was not the usual request from a potential Russian bride, or the member of Nigerian Royal Family wanting my bank account details so they can send me money, it was a little different.

The message was from a local lady named Kelly. Kelly and her husband Glen, are Crisis Foster Carers, the best of the best, and they run a registered charity organisation called Foster Care Angels.

Foster Care Angels are a little bit different to your average charity in the way that they utilise their limited finances. Rather than just redistributing funds, they instead provide children with what they call “care packages”.

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Care packages headed for the hands of needy kids

The children that arrive as Crisis Foster Kids often come with nothing other than the clothes on their back. These are the kids who arrive with no physical baggage, but carry a tonne of emotional baggage. I cannot imagine how hard it must be for a kid to own abosolutely nothing, I’m not talking about kids that don’t have a PlayStation, or an iPad, or even a bike, these kids often don’t even have a toothbrush. Those who care for these kids really are providing the most vital of community services.

Foster Care Angels provide “care packages” to the foster care agencies so they can be given to children who have absolutely nothing. These packages contain some personal effects like a toothbrush, a washer, some soap, as well as educational needs like pens, pencils and activity books, and of course a soft toy and some other age appropriate toys. Different age groups get given different packages, and all the packages for that age group have the same contents, so no child feels they got less than another when two or more children are in the same location.

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Donated goods to be added care packages

Feedback from these packages has been overwhelmingly positive, including the story of one little seven year old girl who came from terrible circumstances. This poor little girl apparently was overcome with emotion at being given a hairbrush she could call her own, all her life she had wanted to be like other girls who could brush their own hair with their own brush. This goes to show the impact these packages can have on kids from such tragic backgrounds, they truly are priceless gifts.  

With responses like that of the seven year old girl, you can imagine the joy that the kids must feel about having their own basic essentials and not having to beg or borrow.  

Foster Care Angels are entirely self-sustained, they receive no funding at all from government at any level. Their local state member Nathan Rees is a strong supporter, as is their Federal Member Michelle Rowland, who even delivered a speech about the Foster Care Angels in Federal parliament. The “Angels” raise all their funds from donations, and do a lot of fundraising activities themselves, I recently did the sausage sizzle out the front of a Bunnings with them, I even wore angel wings for the occasion, pink ones no less…

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Kelly, Glen, and a team of experts out raising funds

Anyway, back to that message I received from Kelly…

Kelly’s message was a plea for help, not for donations, although I’m sure they would be welcome, but a plea to encourage friends and family to spend 20 odd seconds to “Like” the Foster Care Angels Facebook page.

The “Angels” Facebook page is only reasonably new and it serves a vital purpose.

Much of the help that he “Angels” receive is from the business community, and the Facebook page provides a means of publicly thanking corporate sponsors so that they too will be seen as helping the community. This encourages more sponsorship as companies see it as a means of advertising or gaining public support.

More social media exposure equals more corporate sponsors. More corporate sponsors equals more care packages. More care packages equals more smiles on the faces of children for whom Christmas usually just means more heartache. It’s not rocket science.

I thought it was important to share this with you today, as today is International Volunteers Day. Today is a day where we appreciate the work of volunteers and their value to the community. With so many Coalition governments slashing services at state level across the country, the role of the volunteer is becoming bigger, as our reliance on them becomes greater.

For those of you who have some change to spare, donations can be made here and are tax-deductible. For those who can spend the 20 odd seconds, here is a link to the Foster Care Angels Facebook page, they would appreciate your helping them with your mouse clicks.

Twenty seconds ain’t a great deal of time, and a couple of clicks of the mouse ain’t a great deal of effort, but this Christmas, it may just help Santa or the “Angels” put a toothbrush in the hands of a needy boy, or a hairbrush in the hands of a needy girl.

I doubt you will give a gift this year that is more valued, or greater appreciated.

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