Photo Credit: Chris Harris
“I am a visual artist and activist living in Wells, BC Canada in Lhtako Dené Territory. In 2015 my partner, Claire Kujundzic and I became involved in resistance to BC Hydro’s proposed Site C dam on the Peace River in northeast British Columbia in Treaty 8 Territory when we drove through the beautiful valley slated for flooding. BC Hydro has no market for this power; the dam is not needed. Yet near the end of 2017, our government decided to continue its construction.
To support the farmers and First Nations people who have been trying to stop the dam, I designed and printed shirts in the Cree and Dane-zaa as languages. My goal was to create graphics depicting what we want to support rather than what we oppose. Making indigenous languages visible can also help rectify the legacy of colonialism that has extinguished so many languages. I have printed other shirts since then and created a number of sculptures about resistance to the dam.
By sharing screen printing techniques at the Treaty 8 Tribal Association in Fort St John, BC, I hope to assist people in the area to unleash their own creative printing projects regardless of their purposes, be it for fundraising, campaigns to protect the Peace River or individual art projects that reflect the cultures of Treaty 8 Territory.”
Learn more about Bill’s inspiring environmental activism on his crowdfunding campaign page for the Peace River Screen Printing Project below:
“I’ve always loved working with horses, probably stemming from growing up in Zambia in the 80’s where it was one of the few available options for entertainment. My parents moved to Spain several years ago and I’ve been spending a lot of time visiting so I decided to join the local horse sanctuary. I wanted to spend some time volunteering and horses seemed to be the natural route.
I contacted the ARCH stables and they were only too happy to have more hands on deck. They are purely not for profit and run by volunteers. (Supported by the ARCH charity shop that just about manages to cover the stable’s daily expenses). They tend to take only the worst cases at the stables when abused or neglected horses or donkeys are confiscated by the local police. The confiscated animals that are in relatively good condition (i.e stable, not critical) are fairly quickly re-homed but the more severe cases take quite a bit of time to recover and rehabilitate and get accustomed to a loving human touch.
The average morning consists of clearing out the several wheelbarrows of manure, feeding the horses hard feed and hay, grooming and medicating where necessary and generally making sure everything is in order. We then get ready for the afternoon feed and later the afternoon volunteers ensure the feed is turned into manure ready for the morning wheelbarrows.
Then there are the days where someone needs to go and investigate a claim or attend a police confiscation, and it can get a little hairy at times I can tell you! It’s obviously better to educate the owners than to resort to confiscation, but sometimes it’s the only way.
The worst cases at the stables have helped me overcome my squeemishness, one just has to get on with it. It’s also great just to be around the horses and make new friends, of which there are many! The hard work and heartache is all worth it in the end when you see the healthy horses in their new homes, happily running free. ”
Leon Patras, ARCH Rescue Centre
For more on the awesome work of the ARCH Rescue Centre, check out their crowdfunding campaign page:
“Back in 1980 I was undergoing major surgery when I suffered a cardiac arrest and went zooming off from my body more fully aware than ever before of our world and our human condition.
When I was turned around with the very clear instructions that I still had ‘my life’s work to do’ and that it wasn’t my time to go ‘home’, I asked that I might be shown what my life purpose was. After some pretty amazing revelations in 1983, along with my husband Edwin, we sold our home and business in Sydney and founded the Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust at Goobarragandra near Tumut in NSW. There we worked to provide a centre to support and care for people and the natural environment in a beautiful setting.
Mud brick and timber buildings were built to accommodate guests along with a stone and mud brick chapel which offered a peaceful space and a welcome to people of all faiths or none. These were built with the generous help of many wonderful volunteers. In 1987 we formally founded our charitable Trust and gifted the land and buildings to our Trust so that our work could carry on beyond our own physical ability to provide care and support.
Over twenty years the Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust provided a valuable resource offering training programs for the long-term unemployed, Indigenous building programs, cancer patient support programs, workshops, counselling for people facing life threatening illnesses and relationship problems, and respite care for carers, as well as offering individuals and families opportunities for holidays. As a Social Worker I saw the wonderful transformation that loving care and the beauty of nature could offer to troubled lives. All of our work and support was offered on a donation basis. Our Trust continues today and is based on the far south coast of NSW.
While we are now unable to offer accommodation we do continue in our support for those who are needing assistance with life and its challenges. While we care for all people we have a strong passion to assist Aboriginal children to gain an equal footing in our world and so many of our programs have this focus. We currently fund an after school Study Centre at the Wallaga Lake Koori Village near to Bermagui and our latest commitment is to raise the funds for the Koori Kids Gardening Program at Narooma High School to be developed and so inspire change for these children.”
For more on this awesome campaign to help Aboriginal kids who struggle to fit into school and life itself, check out the Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust’s crowdfunding campaign page below:
“My name is Ella and I got involved with the Coffs Climate Action Group late last year because I was sick of talking and feeling saddened by the exploitation of the natural world by big corporations and mining companies and wanted to take action to stop it and raise awareness.
Not long after joining we road tripped up north to Bowen Queensland to the Front Line Action on Coal and me and 4 others, John, Liisa and Danny locked ourselves to coal conveyor belt at the Adani owned Abbot Point Coal Port to bring attention to the proposed mega mine and how devastating it will be to farmers and to indigenous people of the area who’s sacred lands will be destroyed. Also to spread awareness on the urgency of climate change and the affects burning fossil fuels is having on our climate. This non violent action was followed by an arrest and court case were we proceeded to get fines of $8000 each, a collective of $80000 for all 10 who locked on.
These are some of the biggest fines ever given to protesters in Australia and in comparison to the a fine of $12000 which was challenged in court, the given to multi millionaire Adani for polluting a nearby wetland, it’s obvious to see the corruption and injustice. Although the fines were huge, the importance of this issue and our shared responsibility to be caretakers of our only planet is much greater and taking action was very empowering.
Feeling more inspired than ever to make change!”
To learn more about the Coffs Crew Legal Fundraiser to Stop the Adani port action, check out Ella’s crowdfunding campaign page below:
“My name is Joanne. I’m from Sydney, Australia, and I’m fundraising for a refuge quite far from home, and one I have not, and never will be able to visit – Lefty’s Place Farm Sanctuary. How I got involved began back in 2013 when I stumbled across Tamara Kenneally’s photography on her Facebook page.
Tamara is a brilliant photographer; her riveting images coupled with honest insight compelled you to know more, and so I followed her work. Over the years she introduced me to so many animals through her images and words. Many faced such hardship and injustice, and my heart broke every time. Some animals she was able to save, and snapshots into their new lives at Lefty’s Place bring such joy into my life. The quirky, personable characters who call that sanctuary home, also found a place in my heart. They never failed to brighten up my day when I needed it.
But with all brilliance, comes those who are threatened by it. Because of her highly effective work (outside of work) in exposing animal cruelty, she has received threats to her safety and those living at Lefty’s Place. She is unable to accept visitors or volunteers to assist in taking care of the over 100 animals living there. She runs the place almost entirely alone ever since it began in 2011.
This severely limits her options when it comes to finding sources of funding, and running a sanctuary is no walk in the park. Small (and large) incidents stack up, and even working long hours cannot cover the current situation. Most urgently medical bills, medical supplies and food need to be paid for. For the future, upgrades such as a hay feeder for the sheep, and moving to a larger property needs to be considered.
When I decided to shave my hair, I decided to make it into make it into something that could do good. Lefty’s Place was the first to mind. It is such a remarkable sanctuary, run by an amazing person who gives so much to the animals and to the community. In return, I want to be a means for some well-deserved relief for the residents at Lefty’s Place.
I am here for change.”
Learn more about Joanne’s crowdfunding and this awesome cause cron her campaign page below:
“My name is Sharon Cislowski and I’m presently the secretary (and a parent) at the Ingham Community Kindergarten and Preschool, in North Queensland, Australia and our kindergarten grounds were affected by floodwaters during recent floods.
What is devastating is that we had just completed a $50 000 upgrade to our outdoor space with purpose built Natureplay landscaping and equipment and our insurance doesn’t cover floods.
Our Kindy is a community based, not for profit organisation run by a voluntary management committee. We rely on fundraising to help us maintain our service and keep our fees low and affordable.
We started a crowdfunding campaign because we understand that leaning too hard on people in our community when they are also feeling the affects of disaster can be a little too much to ask. Chuffed.org have provided the platform to enable us a wider reach to our campaign.”
To learn more about the Community Kindergarten and help them to recover from the floods, check out Sharon’s crowdfunding campaign page below:
“Elouise and Zelia are travelling to Jayyous, Palestine in May to volunteer with SkatePal, an incredible non-profit that empowers the Palestinian youth through skateboarding. They do this by building skateparks, holding classes and providing equipment and encouragement!
We met at Khora Community Centre in Athens, Greece where we have both been volunteering for the last 6 months. Through this we also started teaching with Free Movement Skateboarding who have built a mobile skatepark, and recently a small permanent skatepark near Eleonas refugee camp, and who hold sessions for kids from the refugee community and local Greek kids. At the new skatepark we also hold weekly girls-only sessions to encourage more girls to participate and make the sport more inclusive. These sessions encourage integration across cultures, improving confidence on and off a skateboard, and generally just having a great time with their friends. Having seen first-hand the benefits these sessions have brought for the kids we were inspired to travel to Palestine to build on this experience and become better teachers and skaters!
We especially love seeing girls getting involved and SkatePal makes an effort to have a gender balance among the volunteers so that we can hold girls-only sessions. This is especially important in Palestine as the youth have little access to sporting activities and skateboarding is one of the most inclusive sports out there; people of all ages, genders, classes and races can participate and have a good time while also breaking down these barriers together!
Donations to our campaign will go towards ensuring the sustainability of this project, helping them expand to empower kids in more places!”
For more on this amazing cause, check out Elouise and Zelia’s crowdfunding campaign page below:
“I’ve spent a lot of time in Tonga, it’s not far from my home in Australia and it’s an incredibly beautiful place with a wild ocean and a simple lifestyle. I’ve always been sad to see the dogs there – skinny, unloved, and often lying sick or dead on the side of the road. However last year, while visiting with my partner Ángel (a vet from Spain), we realised we could make a real difference.
We visited a family on a small island called Nomuka who have spent several years taking in strays and doing what they can, but are overcome by the amount of dogs. We surveyed the whole village, and found out that overwhelmingly people wanted neutering, but had no access to vets. When back in Spain we spoke to our friends Martha & Manu, who have worked on many street dog campaigns in the past, and put together the Pacific Hope Project to get back there with the supplies needed to completely change the life of the dogs on Nomuka Island.
We figured that many people have been confronted by overpopulation and lack of care for dogs while on their travels, and opened the campaign up to Crowdfunding on Chuffed to fund the cost of transport, medicine and local help. The humbling support and donations, alongside several requests for similar projects on other nearby islands, showed us that this project was much further reaching than we’d initially thought. Incredibly, inspirational Australian philanthropist Philip Wollen spotted our campaign on Facebook and offered to match donations.
We’ re on the way to getting the campaign totally funded, and this will enable us to not just neuter and care for dogs, but improve life for the humans on the island too as they will no longer share their home with parasite-ridden dogs, or packs of angry street dogs at night. This project has turned from us wanting to help some puppies, into something that may completely change the island in a positive way, and hopefully will spread to other nearby islands. Ultimately, our short term goal is neutering and health care in these small communities, but long term we hope that through our education campaign & local training we can step out completely and leave self-sufficient, healthy and happy populations of dogs behind.”
Alice Forrest, Conservation Biologist
For more on the Pacific Hope Project and Alice Forrest’s inspiring work, check out her crowdfunding campaign page below:
“I have been involved with the Refugee Action Collective (RAC) for eight years. RAC is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit campaign group that seeks to change government policy to free refugees from detention and allow them to be given permanent residency in Australia. Over the last few years as we’ve organised protests in the city, the Brisbane City Council has made it increasingly difficult for us to book and organise peaceful assemblies.
Late last year, protests erupted inside the Manus Island detention centre by refugees, as the authorities attempted to force them into another camp. Their heroic actions sparked protests throughout Australia, demanding their freedom, and RAC in Queensland organised weekly protests in the month of November.
On one such protest, I led a march of several hundred people into Queen street mall where we chanted and held speeches. While the mall is public space, Brisbane City Council have severely restricted public use of the space, with a set of local laws that allow them to lay heavy fines against any number of activities in the mall. While no participants were fined during the protest, two months later I received a $630 fine for using a megaphone on the night via mail. We launched a fundraiser for the fine and within 28 hours had raised all the funds we needed! We’ve also begun a campaign for free speech in Brisbane, please sign here to help our cause: https://www.change.org/p/lord-mayor-graham-quirk-demand-free-speech-in-brisbane-cbd.
As the late British politician Tony Benn put it, “The way a government treats refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.” And while the condition of many of us in Australia pales in comparison to the hell that our Government has created for refugees inside the camps, it is the same political parties that have pursued anti-refugee policies at a federal level that have also restricted our rights to free speech and assembly in Brisbane.
Our struggle for refugee rights in this country is also the struggle for all our rights, and when we have, together with our refugee brothers and sisters inside the camps, shut down those centres and when they’re brought to Australia for immediate settlement, then our community will be all the better for it.”
For more about this awesome cause, check out Tim and the Refugee Action Collective’s crowdfunding campaign to protect free speech below:
“I used to be a telecom engineer and got to work in different countries. But wherever I lived, I was drawn to and fascinated by our oceans and the many amazing creatures that live there. 15 years ago, I decided to make this passion my profession. I studied marine ecology and came to understand that human impact goes further than overfishing and loss of habitat. Our oceans are drowning in waste, most of it plastic. That plastic never goes away, it just breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces, which when ingested by animals can transfer toxic chemicals, many of which have been found to magnify up the food chain. The scale of plastic debris is simply staggering and cleaning up is not a solution. I wanted to do something to stop this at the source, on land.
I joined Boomerang Alliance, an Australian not-for-profit group working to reduce marine plastic pollution. We lobby governments, work with industry and educate communities on issues such as single-use plastic packaging. I’m their sole Victorian representative and have been campaigning for 18 months for a container deposit scheme. Drink containers are one of the biggest contributors to plastic marine debris. The CSIRO found that containers are three times less likely to be littered in areas with a container refund scheme. It’s easy really: put a value on it and it doesn’t get tossed! Victoria and Tasmania are the only states that have yet to commit to such a scheme.
The scheme is also great for providing funding for charities and community groups. It’s easy to convince people of why this makes sense, but it’s sometimes hard to be heard over the dim of other issues taking up space and time. So, I decided to go BIG… enter the Big Bottle, which I want to tour around regional Victoria. I put out the call and have already received many offers of help with setting up meetings with MPs, talking at schools and doing clean-ups. The best part of my job is working with all these local waste heroes and I can’t wait to meet them! Together we can push this sensible scheme high up on the Victorian government’s agenda. Let’s just hope the Big Bottle makes it all in one piece 😊”
Annett and the Boomerang Alliance team
Learn more about this awesome cause on Annett’s crowdfunding campaign page below: