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February 2021

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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