Lions & Tigers: The South Sudan wheelchair basketball story

South Sudan Team and Richard

When London-based journalist and filmmaker Richard Nield first met the players of South Sudan’s national wheelchair basketball team in 2012 he was so inspired by their story that he decided to make a feature documentary about the team.

The players of South Sudan’s wheelchair basketball team

The courageous group of young people he met in South Sudan have overcome war, disability and displacement to fulfil their dreams.

In a refugee camp in Kenya more than a decade ago, the players pledged that if ever South Sudan became an independent country they would form a national wheelchair basketball team. In July 2011, South Sudan gained independence. Two weeks later, the team was formed.

Over the past six years, Richard has assembled a team of filmmakers from the UK, US and Australia. They have filmed in South Sudan three times, and when conflict forced some of the players to flee the country in 2015 Richard and his team travelled to refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia to continue to film their dramatic journey.

This November, internationally-renowned wheelchair basket coach Jess Markt will travel from the US to South Sudan to train the team.

Jess, who broke his spine in a car accident when he was 19, has trained wheelchair basketball teams all over the world. His teaching is a tremendous opportunity for South Sudan’s players and a major step towards them fulfilling their next dream: to compete in their first international.

South Sudan Team and RichardRichard on court with team players Gabriel and Stephen and their friends at Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya in October 2015

Richard and his team are determined to give South Sudan’s wheelchair basketballers the global audience that their heroic achievements deserve. They are desperate not to miss this opportunity to capture such a crucial chapter in the team’s story.

So far Richard has almost entirely self-funded the film’s production. Now he has launched a campaign on to raise the money he needs to complete filming and bring this incredible story to screens all over the world.

To support Richard’s campaign and give your backing to these amazing people, you can view their campaign here:

RSPCA QLD need your help to save Border Collie cross puppies!



RSPCA QLD need your help!
Eight Border Collie cross puppies were found abandoned

RSPCA Qld Inspectors are calling for information after eight Border Collie cross puppies were found dumped on the north side of Kev Hooper Memorial Park in Abelia Street, Inala on the evening of Wednesday August 22. They were in critical condition.

The litter was found by a member of the public and taken to the AEC 24 hour vet clinic in Wooloongabba. Sadly, it was already too late for one of the 5-week-old pups which was deceased upon arrival.

They were brought into the RSPCA Domestic Animal Hospital at Wacol yesterday for urgent treatment.

Sadly only three of the eight pups remain after four more pups succumbed to their illness yesterday.

The three remaining puppies are receiving round-the-clock care at the RSPCA. They are malnourished, suffering from hypothermia, conjunctivitis and life threatening Hookworm infestations. The next 48 hours are vital to their survival and they have an even longer fight ahead.

RSPCA Qld Lead Veterinarian Philippa Cox said, “We are hoping for the best but the sad reality is that some of the puppies may not respond to treatment. Further complications can arise which would result in emergency abdominal surgery. For now, it’s hour by hour for these six tiny babies.”

If you would like to help these puppies, please donate today.

Read more about RSPCA QLD’s work on their campaign page and make a donation here:

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The Team

Peace River Screen Printing Project by Bill Horne

Bill Horne Activist

Bill Horne Activist 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.

Bill Screen Printing

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.”
Bill Horne

Learn more about Bill’s inspiring environmental activism on his crowdfunding campaign page for the Peace River Screen Printing Project below:

ARCH Rescue Centre: Helping Ankara the mare face a better future


ARCH Team“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:

Koori Kids Special Garden Program at Narooma High by the Elm Grove Sanctuary Trust

Laurel & Edwin

Laurel & Edwin
“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:

Coffs Crew Legals Fundraiser by Ella

stop adani

“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!”
Ella Skerrett

To learn more about the Coffs Crew Legal Fundraiser to Stop the Adani port action, check out Ella’s crowdfunding campaign page below:

Lefty’s Place – Hair for Change

Leftys Place

Leftys Place

“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.”

Joanne Phan

Learn more about Joanne’s crowdfunding and this awesome cause cron her campaign page below:

The Ingham Community Kindy Flood Recovery by Sharon

Community Landscapers for Kindy

Community Landscapers for Kindy

“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. have provided the platform to enable us a wider reach to our campaign.”
Sharon Cislowski

To learn more about the Community Kindergarten and help them to recover from the floods, check out Sharon’s crowdfunding campaign page below:

Spreading the love of Skateboarding in Palestine!

SkatePal Palestine

SkatePal Palestine

“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: