Naomi Steer

15/09/2011

 
Picture
Humanitarian challenges facing refugees who have lost everything can appear overwhelming but sometimes simple solutions can mean the difference between life and death. A mosquito net to prevent malaria, a plastic sheet to keep out the rain, a cooking pot to make a hot meal, and clean drinking water to prevent disease. 80% of all refugees are women and children and providing support to them is top priority for me and the team at A4UNHCR.

Naomi Steer

Naomi was one of the main founders of Australia for UNHCR (A4UNHCR). Since setting up UNHCR’s Australian fundraising operations in 2000, she has travelled to many refugee situations including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Chad and Uganda to speak with and record the stories of refugees. Close to Naomi’s heart is the Safe Mother and Baby program funded by Australian donors. Now running in Somalia - which has  one of the highest rates of maternal and neonatal mortality rates - the program focuses on reproductive health and education. At the centre of the program is a simple kit made up of a plastic sheet, clean blade, soap, string, swaddling and resuscitation instructions all of which enables mothers to give birth in a clean environment, reducing the risk of haemorrhage and post-natal infection. This simple, low cost kit of basic materials has saved thousands of lives.

http://www.unrefugees.org.au/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Sarah Garnett

15/09/2011

 
Picture

Books are powerful - they have the ability to change someone’s life. They
offer choices, whether it be to reconnect with a past interest, to learn or
to just escape from an often miserable day to day existence.

Sarah Garnett

In 2003 after the death of a young friend, Benjamin Andrew, Sarah decided to make herself useful by working as a volunteer.  She started helping serve meals to the homeless and disadvantaged in Sydney’s CBD. One evening Sarah noticed a man sitting under a streetlight reading a novel while waiting for the food van.  She started bringing him a few books and it was here The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library began. The Footpath Library exists solely on donations of money and services. Currently it gives away 2500 new and secondhand books a month in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to homeless hostels and community organisations. The books are a gift, they are not returned.  For Sarah, the aim of The Footpath Library is to promote literacy, make books more accessible to homeless and disadvantaged people and change society’s attitudes to these members of our community.

http://www.footpathlibrary.org/


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Anne Looby

15/09/2011

 
Picture
Breast Wishes has been created by a community of artists. It is their love and good will that is the foundation of the piece  and for that reason it ultimately speaks to people’s hearts not their heads.  It is without doubt the most fulfilling journey I have ever undertaken and it is my hope that its message of well-being and sisterhood reaches as broad an audience as possible.

Anne Looby

Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer diagnosed in females in Australia and it is estimated that almost 13,300 Australian women will be diagnosed this year. It is also the leading cause of cancer death in females. Early detection is the best method for reducing deaths from breast cancer. Anne conceived the original idea for Breast Wishes, An Uplifting Musical, five years ago when her younger sister was diagnosed with the disease. Its development was unconventional and unique and only possible with the skill and generosity of her talented friends. The genesis for Breast Wishes was born out of her desire to create a show to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. The National Breast Cancer Foundation are royalty holders in the piece.  Anne felt compelled and inspired to make a difference not only to her sister, who is a survivor, but to the thousands of women - friends, mums, grandmothers, sisters, cousins - and men who are affected by this disease. The musical has toured nationally in Australia in 2009 & 2011 and has been seen by over 25,000 people.

http://www.nbcf.org.au/
http://www.breastwishes.com.au/


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Tara Winkler

06/09/2011

 
Picture
To be able to make a difference in the lives of such vulnerable, innocent children, to make the world a safer place for them to grow up in - has made my life richer and deeper in so many ways. It makes me strive to be the best person I can be.

Tara Winkler

Tara was in her early twenties and working as a volunteer in Cambodia when she heard about a corrupt orphanage where children were suffering from severe neglect and shocking abuse. Tara assembled a team and took action - rescuing 14 children from the orphanage and creating the Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT). CCT is now home to 50 children, helping them overcome their backgrounds of abuse and nelgect, breaking the cycle of poverty through care and education. Tara resides in Cambodia and speaks fluent Khmer, and the Trust she founded also supports families in the Battambang region, street children, people with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, victims of landmines, the physically and mentally disabled, and others who are in need. Tara plans to purchase land to build on, so that CCT has a permanent base to provide children with the security they need. Rather than one large institution, the preferred model is one in which small groups (from eight-ten children) are cared for in individual homes by a house mother and father, creating an atmosphere of a typical Cambodian family. CCT has also opened a shop in Battambang to help support its activities and ABC’s Australian Story has produced a story on Tara and CCT. In 2011, Tara was named NSW Young Australian of the Year.


http://www.cambodianchildrenstrust.org/


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Margaret Wilcox

06/09/2011

 
Picture
 If there’s a message I would give to people in the same situation, it is never give up, never lose hope.

Margaret Wilcox

When Margaret’s daughter Tanya was 3 years old, she was abducted by her Libyan father and taken into hiding. It took Margaret fourteen years of heartache, private investigators, lawyers, red tape, and determination to be able to hold her daughter in her arms once again. Her daughter was confused and hurt, so Margaret wrote a long love letter to her explaining the extraordinary lengths she went to in hope of finding her again. This love letter was published into a book and has been translated into 6 languages, and offers hope for those in a similar situation. There is unfortunately very little help once borders are crossed in this kind of situation, as it is deemed a personal, and not a criminal matter. Margaret used her book, Gone, to create an awareness of the problem with the hope that those responsible for the legislation governing these problems can be encouraged to look for a solution. 


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney