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July 2023

The hidden impact of miscarriages

Bears of Hope

Finding out your baby has not survived during pregnancy, birth, or infancy may be the most traumatic experience you will ever experience. You have lost a precious little life, and you may need to lean on others to cope with the heartbreak and the grief.  Up to 5% of women that experience a miscarriage suffer post-traumatic stress symptoms, which can trigger despair and depression.

A new survey by The State of Early Pregnancy Loss Report in 2022 reveals that 40% of respondents reported experiencing barriers to accessing support following their early pregnancy loss. Less than half the number of respondents who said they wanted access to a counsellor actually sought help from these professionals in the aftermath of early pregnancy loss.

Studies demonstrate that appropriate social support for both women and men who have experienced a miscarriage can provide a much needed boost to their wellbeing both in the short term and in the long term.  

Bears of Hope exists to families heal from their loss. Bears of Hope provides counselling, group support and a national program of healing workshops focussing on surviving grief and learning how to live through it. Their parent-led grief wellness groups are facilitated by a qualified counsellor, social worker or psychologist and are free of charge.

March 2023

A promise for the people of Afghanistan

Mahboba's Promise

The Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in 2021, only twenty years after being ousted. In doing so, they have overruled women’s rights and neglected all basic human services. The Taliban has prohibited most girls from attending secondary school, banning all women from attending and teaching at universities.

Mahboba Rawi, an Afghan refugee and now an Australian citizen, has experienced the devastating and ongoing effects of a country suffering years of war and civil unrest. Born in Afghanistan, Mahboba was forced to flee as a teenager due to her activism against the Soviet occupation. After her son passed away in 1992, she decided to advocate for children in Afghanistan. From this heartbreaking hardship, Mahboba’s Promise was born.

Since then, Mahboba’s Promise has established schools, shelters and health clinics across Afghanistan and provided numerous sponsorships to widows and orphans in need.

One of Mahboba's Promise' latest appeals aims to help resettle new Afghan arrivals into Australia by providing a multitude of support ranging from a welcome packs, to psychological and medical support, short-and-long term resettlement support and education.

Mahboba and her son Sourosh were awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal for 2022, and in March 2023 Mahboba received the NSW Human Rights Medal. On 3 April 2023, ABC's Australian Story featured Mahboba's Promise and their story.

Local knowledge is extremely valuable when it comes to navigating a war-torn country like Afghanistan and its complex social and political landscape. Mahboba’s Promise’s knowledge is critical for a war-torn country like Afghanistan. It can help international organisations and governments build trust with the local population, understand their needs, identify key stakeholders, navigate the political landscape, and enhance security. By leveraging local knowledge, development projects are more likely to succeed and have a lasting development on the lives of Afghan people.

December 2022

The generational impact of a crisis 

Save The Children Australia

Children born in 2020 will face two to three times as many bushfires, floods and droughts than their grandparents did. Heatwaves will be almost 7 times as frequent.

From June to October this year, extreme weather patterns produced severe flooding in Pakistan. These floods devastated crops and livestock, leaving an ongoing risk of food shortages. Currently, more than 760,000 children in flood-hit areas are at risk of severe malnutrition due to food shortages.

Meanwhile, in Syria, a large-scale civil war has forced over 500,000 Syrian children to flee. They now live in refugee camps in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt.

In 2022, war broke out in Ukraine. The situation in Ukraine is extremely unsafe, and 7.5 million children are caught in the conflict. There are frequent bombings  and it is estimated that about 1,000 children have been killed or injured since the invasion began.

Save the Children is a charity focussed on keeping children in school and minimising the impacts of war and disaster. In Pakistan, Save the Children has provided essential supplies to meet the immediate needs of children and their families in flood affected areas. In Syria, Save the Children's main objective is to ensure children living as refugees still have access to school, emotional support and recreational activities. In Ukraine, Save the Children delivers essential aid to children and their families, including by providing winter clothes and blankets, food supplies and medicines.

September 2022

How do we end violence... before it begins?

Zahra Foundation

Warning: this story is about domestic violence and may be distressing for some readers.

When Arman Abrahimzadeh was 23 years old, his father murdered his mother. 

In 1997, Zahra Abrahimzadeh migrated to Australia with her husband and children. For 22 years, Zahra Abrahimzadeh's husband was verbally and physically violent towards her. In 2009, Zahra attempted to leave the family home with her children, living in hiding in order to keep them safe.

On 21 March 2010, she attended the Persian New Year function at the Adelaide Convention Centre. This celebration was cut short when her husband took her life in front of 300 witnesses. It was Zahra's 44th birthday.

Arman's father was sentenced for life in prison with a 26 year non-parole period. At trial, the prosecutor said his crime as "a final act of control" when Zahra had moved to divorce him after 20 years of violence.

Zahra's legacy lives on through the commitment of her children and the establishment of the Zahra Foundation Australia. The Zahra Foundation works to address financial abuse through programs that promote financial literacy and economic empowerment of women.

According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, financial abuse occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. It is frequently cited by victim-survivors as the main reason they stayed with an abusive partner.

As Arman explains: “we fight domestic violence on two fronts. First, it’s the crisis end; the coal face where it’s all happening, and secondly, it’s the prevention area." Zahra's programs seek to help its participants build autonomy and break cycles of violence.

February 2022

The country without speech therapists

OIC Australia

In 2012, Australian man Weh Yeoh found himself in one of the most remote parts of Cambodia. He met a boy whose name was Ling.

Ling had cerebral palsy, a condition caused by damage that occurs in a young brain around the time of birth. As a result, Ling had problems speaking to the point where Weh had difficulty understanding him.

Despite being 10 years old at the time, Ling had never been to school and couldn’t read or write. Those around him labelled him “chqoot” – a Cambodian word translated as “stupid”. Ling's inability to communicate left him completely isolated.

But, when Weh met Ling for the first time, he could see that he wasn’t stupid. Perhaps he just had a problem with communication?

Using volunteers from Australia, Weh was able to organise basic training in speech therapy with Ling's community worker, Phearom. Little by little, Ling’s language started to improve until he was able to communicate with his family.

After months of hard work, Ling’s speech improved so much that he was able to start school for the very first time. One year later, Ling wasn’t just participating in school - he was coming second in his class. Ling now jokes that he has “too many friends” and continues to thrive.

Through his work, Weh learned that there are thousands more children in Cambodia who live isolated because they are unable to communicate. It is estimated that 670,000 Cambodians need speech therapy, and yet there are currently no Cambodian speech therapists in the country.

In 2013, OIC Cambodia was established to tackle Cambodia’s overwhelming need for speech therapy services. OIC Australia supports the work of OIC Cambodia through fundraising and awareness campaigns. OIC builds the foundations that will establish sustainable speech therapy services in Cambodia.

This story was borrowed and adapted from OIC Australia.

November 2021

The lockdown that doesn't end

Gifts for Manus and Nauru

There are currently two hundred people who are held by the Government in indefinite detention at Australian-controlled detention centres in Papua New Guinea and Nauru.  For these people, the average time spent under lockdown is 696 days.

On Manus and Nauru, people aren't just separated physically from their families. They've completely lost contact. Because, for many people, even the cost of a phone call is out of reach.

Refugees detained on Manus and Nauru are more than 200 times more likely to self-harm than the average Australian population. Researchers at the University of Melbourne recorded 260 incidents of self-harm per 1,000 people on Nauru and 54 incidents per 1,000 people on Manus Island.

We know that human connection is at the core of wellbeing. The strength of our relationships reflects the depth of our happiness. We think that, at a minimum, the people on Manus and Nauru should be able to speak with their families and friends.

Gifts for Manus and Nauru supports asylum seeker and refugee friends in PNG and Nauru through the provision of mobile phone credit. They also have ongoing programs to provide access to medical and dental treatment, and professional trauma counselling.

August 2021

Can nappies reduce poverty?

The Nappy Collective

The Nappy Collective is a volunteer-led organisation that collects leftover nappies and redistributes them to families in need. In Australia, there are 150,000 families who don't have enough nappies to change their children as often as needed. As a result, they cut back on essentials to afford nappies.

The Nappy Collective began with a vision to provide immediate support to family violence survivors. Many survivors of domestic violence are mothers of young children. Often they arrive at a safe house with nothing but the clothes on their back and their children in their arms. The nappies provided to these women provide them with one less thing to worry about.

The Nappy Collective now has collection points all across Australia and continues to expand. To date, it has redistributed over 4 million nappies.

June 2021

Remembering Phil

On the morning of 5 June, after a battle with cancer, Phil Garbutt passed away.

Phil was dedicated to his community, driven by a desire to help those less fortunate. In 2013, Phil began Donate A Dollar A Week.

Phil's determination helped grow DDW from an idea into a community that has contributed over $35,000 to support more than 60 incredible Aussie charities.

We are extremely proud of the organisation Phil created. As Phil envisioned, we will continue to build Donate A Dollar A Week into a community of a thousand donors.

Today, we continue to learn from Phil's empathy, compassion, and his dedication to community.

Phil will be remembered as someone who made the world a better place.

June 2021

Thumbs Up for Indigenous Health

Uncle Jimmy Thumbs Up

Thumbs Up runs a range of health and nutrition programs targeted at Indigenous youth, including its "Good Tucker" program which helps customers of community stores identify healthier food items with a Uncle Jimmy’s "Thumbs Up! seal of approval".

In partnership with the Fred Hollows Foundation, Thumbs Up developed the Kukumbat Gudwan Daga Cookbook to encourage healthy eating on a budget.

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