Helping Deported Sanjay to Start Again


“I started this campaign the moment my friend Sanjay told me that his dreams of safety and freedom in Australia were over.

We met 2 years ago when I decided I wanted to do more about the way Australia was treating asylum seekers and accepted an invitation to MITA, one of Melbourne’s two immigration detention centres.

When I got there (only 20 minutes’ drive from Brunswick) I couldn’t understand the high security fences, uniformed guards and complicated rules when I was visiting people who had committed no crime and were seeking Australia’s protection.

Sanjay – who had already been several years in detention – welcomed me warmly, made me some tea and introduced me to all his friends. The contrast with the high-security environment was enormous!

Visiting soon became a weekly event and my sons joined me to keep company with 3 brothers (aged 13, 11 and 10) who were detained there with their mum. We had found a community of friends in a place where human rights were routinely denied.

Two years down the track, many of these friends feel like family, and the visiting community has been gutted to hear that Sanjay must return to Sri Lanka.

One of his friends summed it up perfectly when she posted on social media, ‘Completely heartbroken… Australia has rejected one of my dearest friends application to seek asylum. HOW are we allowed to take so many years from a person to then tell them “no”?….

‘(Sanjay) you wonderful human … Thank you for changing my life. Your friendship and your story have driven my everlasting passion and need to support all people seeking asylum in this country. I am so sorry we have taken so many years from you.’

This response was echoed through our loose community of friends and advocates. We couldn’t overturn the decision but we needed to do something to help.

When I finally got Sanjay on the phone, he kept saying ‘I have no idea about my life’.

That seeded the idea. What if we could create some certainty, at least in terms of finding a home and accessing health care? Money was never going to replace freedom and safety, but it could make life a bit easier.

We agree to crowdfund through Chuffed and Sanjay’s mate Tom Ballard came on board to give us a boost. Tom also put his money where his mouth was, and recruited family members who have also given generously.

We’re rapt that our campaign has kicked off so strongly, and will give Sanjay the last word: ‘Thank you so so much…. I have no words to say for your very big help, I really, really appreciate it’.”

Head to Janet’s crowdfunding campaign page to learn more about Sanjay and how you can support his cause:

Our Bees Need You: Malcolm and the Newbattle Beekeepers Association



“In 1980 when I was living in Zambia. I was working with ZCCM, a state-owned mining company in their commercial farming venture. We kept bees in traditional hives and sold the honey produced in the farm shops which were part of the farming estate. It was very popular with our many customers and my interest in the honeybee was born.

Thirty-four years later I paid a visit to the Royal Highland Show honey tent. This rekindled my interest in bees but I knew that I needed to learn more if I was to establish my own apiary. I decided to undertake a beekeeping course at Newbattle Abbey College, not far from the city of Edinburgh. I then joined Newbattle Beekeepers Association and now have six colonies of bees at my Apiary in the West Lothian countryside. I continue my membership of the Association where I meet with both novice and experienced beekeepers and expand my knowledge of the honeybee, a most fascinating creature.

The association maintains an apiary in the grounds of the college which was gifted to the people of Scotland in 1937 by Philip Kerr, 11th Marquis of Lothian to be used as a residential adult education college. The main building dates from the sixteenth century.

I find Newbattle a magical place steeped in history with ancient woodland and parkland. I look forward to every visit. Over the past year the Association has expanded its range of activities and it now has a greater focus on education and training. Unfortunately, there is no adequate accommodation for training sessions, meetings and study groups. The college trustees have come to the rescue and offered a ten-year lease on a WW2 wooden hut adjacent to the main college building which was last used in 1950. As you can imagine, it is in a state of disrepair and needs extensive renovations and refurbishment. The association plans to refurbish the building and establish the Newbattle Bee Academy.

I have also become aware of the decline in the honeybee population. A recent review by the University of Reading and Friends of the Earth shows that: – Honeybee colonies fell by 53% between 1985 and 2005 – Wild honeybees are thought to be nearly extinct – Bee diversity has declined in 52% of British landscapes For these reasons, I am convinced that our bees do need us. I am confident that we will make a meaningful contribution in helping to reverse the decline in the bee population by training the next generations of beekeepers. I am passionate that the Bee Academy becomes a reality.

This is why I readily became involved in the Chuffed campaign and also decided to launch my own fundraiser campaign in support of the main campaign!”

For more, check out Malcolm and the Newbattle Beekeepers Association’s campaign page:

Community Yoga Making a Difference in Austin, Texas!

Community Yoga, Austin
Community Yoga, Austin
“My name is Daniel Goldstein, and I have been involved with Community Yoga Austin for almost four years now. As research began to come out about the mental and physical health benefits of meditation and other mindfulness practices, a good friend of mine, Shawn Kent suggested I look into joining Community Yoga Austin.

The mission of Community Yoga is to offer the practices of yoga, mindfulness and other evidenced-based wellness programming to underserved communities who may not otherwise have access. Their commitment is to facilitate personal empowerment and social change by unlocking the inherent value of our communities.

Community Yoga Austin uses yoga and mindfulness practices to help those in our community who have high levels of stress in trauma in their lives. We have three programs focused on elementary school students, high school students, and incarcerated persons. One of our goals is to break the often reported ‘school-to-prison’ pipeline. We hope others will support us in our mission!”

Check out Daniel’s crowdfunding campaign here:

Success Story: HOPE

Hope Worldwide Pakistan

Hope Worldwide Pakistan

“I feel honoured to share my commitment to making a stand for social justice.

I was born and raised in Pakistan. Within this society, I have observed and learnt discrimination against gender preferences, gender roles, disability, mental illness, discrimination and religious intolerance. I had always been of an altruistic nature, and during this period of my life I realized social work, as a career, would allow me to practice altruism on a larger scale, gaining emotional gratification.

I stood for equality which means a fair distribution of each of the capacities and treating everyone equally, especially in rights and opportunities.

In March 1998 I have started a charitable, non governmental, human rights Organization named HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan (Humanitarian Organization for Poverty Eradication) for the rights of women and disabled people in the society. HOPE’s work broadened and the organization became one of the human rights organizations in Pakistan.

I migrated to New Zealand in 2008. Changing to a new country and different culture was a big challenge for me but my passion to help underprivileged people didn’t stop. I learnt about the NZ system, gained qualifications and now I am working with Disability and Mental Health Services, with individuals who have intellectual disabilities, challenging behaviour and mental illness, to make positive changes in their lives and to participate in their communities. The job entails working alongside a multi-disciplinary team like social workers, mental health practitioners, psychologists, occupational therapists and nurses. This opportunity has greatly improved my skills and has given me a valuable insight into this field.

Below is more information on my organisation and crowdfunding cause:

HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan was initially established on 23rd March 1998 in Pakistan with a mission to uplift, support and speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. HOPE started to work for women empowerment, child education, and youth empowerment. By 2004, HOPE’s work scattered and recognized at local regional and at international level. As we all know that Pakistani Christians always been treated as third class citizen in Pakistan. It became much harder for Christians, when Pakistan’s late military ruler Mohammed Ziaul Haq, introduced 295 BC in country’s blasphemy law in 1986. Since then Blasphemy law has been misused by fundamentalist Muslims where they use this law as a weapon against Christian to persecute. In the result of misuse of law there were range of attacks on Christian minorities and many houses, churches and colonies were burnt and Christians are living a scary life.

However HOPE was a small organization but being a Christian leaders and Lords soldiers we jumped into and started Free Legal Aid and Awareness Protection Program (FLAAP) in 2007 to provide legal aid to falsely accused victims. In 2008 HOPE was supporting victims and organized a campaign “TO stop misuse of Blasphemy Law”. In 2011, alongside with our Christian brothers and sisters here in New Zealand we have organized successful campaign “To stop killing innocent Christians in Pakistan and to stop misuse of Blasphemy Law in Pakistan.

In 2013 when we have received further information about people fleeing to Thailand. This was the time we came to know more about these stranded asylum seekers and refugees in Bangkok. We took initiative and started Bangkok Asylum Seeker Support Program. Under this program, we helped and are still working with families those been persecuted in Pakistan and now suffering and stranded in Bangkok.

In October 2016, group of like minded people gathered and came up with an idea of re-establishing an organization for the betterment of people and agreed to carry on working for this Godly cause but as more structured. Finally, HOPE Worldwide-Pakistan has been formed in New Zealand with its mission to promote and safeguard the fundamental human rights of vulnerable groups whose lives have been traumatized by disasters, poverty, persecution or discrimination. Transforming lives by acknowledging people’s strengths/needs and walking alongside to improve livelihoods have been always main core purpose of the organization. HOPE seeks to go beyond addressing the consequences of poverty by understanding, challenging and changing the environment that causes poverty and exclusion.”

You can sign this petition link here

Support HOPE’s crowdfunding campaign here:

Success Story: Ben Paynter Leukaemia Funds

Jacynta-Lee and Ben

Jacynta-Lee and Ben

“Four Weeks ago, our good friend Ben Paynter had been suddenly diagnosed with A.L.L Leukaemia. It wasn’t a diagnosis that anyone was expecting, as he just had a sore back and didn’t feel 100%.

Our brains went into overdrive, trying to find a way that we can help our dear friend, but since it is an illness only he and the doctors can fix, there was not much that we could do.

I (Jacynta-lee) signed up to become a blood donor and collected bone marrow donation registration forms knowing that the little things like that won’t be able to help Ben directly, but it will contribute to the treatment of other people having to deal with the same illness. My partner Luke Peters (pictured) has also helped to raise funds for Ben.

We then did some research on ways to raise money, knowing that he will need money since he cannot work and is living away from home (Tamworth). seemed like the best place to start, so we created the campaign, got a few donations then launched it. By the end of that day, we had raised $2,475!

We quickly got to work and created a poster and shared the link to his campaign over social media. With the help of a few locals we gathered some prizes for a raffle and started selling the tickets!

We have now raised $5,455 in just over 2 weeks!

Our ultimate goal is to raise $20,00 over the course of his treatment in order to help pay for his basic living needs as an outpatient. We would just like to thank everybody that has contributed on helping raise these funds, it is greatly appreciated!”

Learn more about Jacynta-lee’s campaign for her dear friend Ben here:

Success Story: Keep Graeme on the Hop!

Peace Bus Team

Peace Bus Team

“A mutual friend in Canberra recommended an event to me. It was the Anzac Eve Peace Vigil, which Graeme Dunstan organises – a lantern lit lamentation at the Australian War Memorial. Deeply moving and truly beautiful.

Later when I interviewed him for community radio 2XX, I learned Graeme had a long history of organising beautiful events including the mythic and transformative 1973 Nimbin Aquarius Festival and that he is esteemed as a peace warrior, a culture hero and inspiration by many.

Wanting to move closer to him, I participated in some of his Peacebus missions, peace vigils, peace camps and barrack gate SpeakOuts, helping out best i could to rig his colourful banners and flag displays.

That was when I became aware of Graeme as an honourable elder with a limp.

Full time nomad, he had not got himself on any waiting list and now the pain was wearying him.

I wanted him to continue his peace pilgrimage. I had already run two successful campaigns with to help other activist friends keep going in hard times, so it seemed an easy thing to offer to set up a fundraiser for get Graeme a new hip

I have met wonderful people around Graeme’s campfires: fantastic funky caring people who also loved Graeme’s work.

We talked the crowd funding idea over with some his peace movement and formed a team. They supported us and offered to help in a variety of ways. In particular I want to acknowledge the kindness and love of Quaker Grannies, Dawn Joyce, Peri Coleman and Helen Bayes.

When we launched the campaign Graeme’s many friends and supporters jumped in to help with large and small donations!.

Always the fear of offending when asking for help but what a Buddha field of love opens up when generosity is put into practice.

I was nervous about this re-connecting with his friends and thrusting the hat. To the contrary it became a joyous affair. Graeme was much affirmed and his friends delighted to affirm him.

This story of generosity, we feel, is good medicine for people near and far. Social capital spiked.

May others be inspired. For Peace. For justice. For the Earth. To the dust!”

Check out Graeme’s awesome campaign page:

Success Story: Empowering Women in the Solomon Islands

Kaleko Team
Kaleko Team
“I grew up in the Solomon Islands and Fiji and over the past 10 years have lived and worked in the Solomon Islands, running various projects to support women into financial independence. Earlier this year I met the “Kaleko SteiFree” team, a small women’s business that produce re-usable sanitary pads and provide education on menstrual hygiene management, an important yet often unrecognised issueI. For many girls and women in the Solomon Islands there is limited access to basic sanitary products, there is no choice by to use toilet paper, cloth or local natural materials such as leaves or coconut husks.
These challenges have the potential to negatively impact physical and emotional health, their participation in school and work and their contribution in the community. I was inspired by the work of Kaleko SteiFree and offered to help spread their message and product to more girls and women, especially those in rural communities. One way I have done this is through my work with the Loloma Foundation.
Since 2016 I have volunteered with the Loloma Foundation on medical outreach missions to rural communities in Fiji and the Solomon Islands. From August 15th-22nd this year I am volunteering with the Loloma Foundation on a medical outreach mission to rural communities in the Solomon Islands. The women’s health team will distribute re-usable sanitary pads and provide basic medical care and education on women’s health related issues including menstrual hygiene management. With only 4 days left to go on my campaign, AUD AUD 5,385 has already been raised which will be used to purchase 200 kits from Kaleko SteiFree. These are the kits we will distribute during the Loloma Foundation mission in August.
An additional 200 re-usable sanitary pads have been produced and donated by the International Tea Group, a group of friends who volunteer in charity projects in the Solomon Islands. This has been an incredible effort by so many people near and far. I am truly grateful for the support and know that this will make such a positive difference to the lives of many girls and women in the Solomon Islands. There is real power in coming together to do good. I am already planning how I can do something similar in Fiji next year! “

Check out this awesome campaign page here:

Success Story: JusticeforLB

“In March 2013 a young man known as LB, short for Laughing Boy, was admitted to an NHS assessment and treatment unit. LB was 18, a fit and healthy young man who loved buses, Eddie Stobart and speaking his mind. He also happened to have autism and epilepsy. After 107 days in the unit, he drowned in the bath, on 4 July, an entirely preventable death.

LB’s mum, Sara Ryan, had blogged about their family life for a number of years before he was admitted to the unit, and I was a regular reader of her blog. When he died I did not know what to say, so I said nothing. Six months after LB died an independent investigation into what happened was due to be published and I got in touch with Sara and offered to help raise awareness of what had happened. I joined a growing group of outraged JusticeforLB campaigners.

Learning disabled men die on average 13 years sooner than the general population, and women 20 years sooner. LB should not have died, his death was entirely preventable, especially if healthcare staff had listened to his family’s concerns and acted on them. Personally, as someone with a background in learning disability and research, the JusticeforLB campaign felt important to get involved with. We have so much knowledge that is not reaching those that need to act on it, and people keep dying prematurely.

The JusticeforLB campaign has focused on raising awareness of premature deaths together with the need to listen to families and to fully involve learning disabled people in their care, and in society more generally. Bereaved families are not entitled to legal aid and therefore we also sought to raise funds to cover legal action.

In October 2016 I attended LB’s two week jury inquest with his family and legal team, and tweeted the proceedings in real time, enabling those not in attendance to follow the court case.

This year we decided to live tweet the fitness to practice tribunal into Dr Valerie Murphy, the Consultant Psychiatrist who was responsible for LB’s care. We launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover my travel and accommodation expenses and have raised more than twice what we asked for. The additional money will be used to cover the upcoming Health and Safety Executive prosecution, and the tweets will enable us to continue shining a light on these murkiest of processes.”

Head to their campaign page to learn more!

Success Story: Down Syndrome SA Gala Ball

Down Syndrome SA

Down Syndrome SA

In the past Down Syndrome SA held corporate gala balls with the main fundraising goal to support the organisations’ programs. CEO Maureen Lawlor and events coordinator Jade Erlandsen decided to flip this event on its head in 2015, creating a Gala Ball for the people it supports.

“People with Down syndrome are central to everything we do, and this event would reflect our person-centred philosophy. Establishing a Gala Ball specifically for people with intellectual disabilities with all the additional support it requires, we are fulfilling our vision to create an inclusive South Australia where every individual with Down syndrome is given an equal chance to learn, grow and thrive.

We have a record crowd of 170 guests attending the ball tomorrow! 170 very happy people who don’t get opportunities to get dressed up and attend formal events with their friends.

The magnitude of this event can be felt from these stories:
Travis’s dad wore his fathers cuff-links to his wedding. He never expected to hand them down to his son with Down syndrome. Tomorrow, Travis will his grandfathers’ cuff-links to the ‘Night to Remember’ Gala Ball!
Sarah’s mum handmade a beautiful dress for Sarah to wear on a special occasion before she passed away. In 2015, Sarah wore this dress at the ‘Night to Remember’ Gala Ball. She looked fabulous and we know her mum would have been proud.”

Head to the Down Syndrome SA campaign page to learn more!



Success Story: Preventing Suicide Through Real-Life Stories of Hope & Triumph

The Contributors Behind Reason To Live

The Contributors Behind Reason To Live
“It was around 10 months ago that I first began this project. At the time, I was on a road trip down south in northern NSW, and as I drove through the long, lonely stretches of highway, I found myself thinking over an article I’d read earlier that day about the rise in youth suicide. It really hit home for me – having faced many demons of my own in my youth, and also losing my father to suicide when I was 18 – and I found myself wishing there was something I could do to help change our tragic culture.

I’d spent the last several years working as a magazine editor, ghostwriter and freelance journalist, focusing on social injustices such as domestic violence, human trafficking, and child abuse, and although I was (and still currently am) extremely passionate about my work in all of these areas, I felt that mental health was an important topic that I wanted to cover.

As I drove down south that winter night in 2016, I found myself thinking of all the incredible people I’d heard of who’d once felt, as I once had, that life wasn’t worth living. Not just celebrities, but also people I know personally; people who the world would be worse off for, had they given up. At that time, I didn’t know that this project would one day become a book, or the countless hours that would be spent making it happen—I just knew it had to be created.

When you’re stuck in a hole, it’s hard to believe that things could ever change, and that’s when people give up. I wanted to use the power of storytelling to show people—through real-life memoirs—that where you are in your journey right now, is not where you have to stay. And so, over the course of about 6 months, I set out on a mission to find and interview inspirational Aussies from around the country—extraordinary people who had faced their biggest demons and emerged triumphant—and bring their stories together.

It’s been an incredibly inspiring journey and I’m forever grateful for the people I’ve met, and their willingness to share their stories with me. Together, we hope to be able to show people around the world that while life is full of adversity, we can use our challenges to rise above to something greater. Suicide is never the solution, and hope and healing are always waiting to be found.”

Learn more about this inspiring campaign below: