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Australian Charity To Start Selling Micro Homes To Raise Money

Charity Image

Australian house prices have gotten out of control. Given the high price of owning your own home, would you consider buying a trendy micro-home that comes with a starting price of just $120,000? The tiny house movement has become a trend because of lifestyle tv shows and social media groups informing us of their benefits. So it comes as no surprise that an Australian charity has jumped on the bandwagon hoping to make a buck.

Small footprint

That may sound a little distasteful, but it really isn’t. The charity Kids under Cover is doing it for a good cause and has set up a business named Nestd which will market micro homes with prices starting as low as $120,000. Kieran Callan heads up Nestd and says the two-story house sits within a 30 square metre footprint and comes with toilet, shower, bathroom, upstairs bedroom and a lovely deck. If you find the price appealing, you should also know that it costs an additional $50,000 for transport, assembly and connection of utilities.

Kids under Cover

Kids under Cover is not new to the tiny housing phenomenon. The charity has actually been building one and two-bedroom self-contained studios in gardens for more than 3 decades in order to deal with youth homelessness. The homes they have installed over the years have kept people afloat. If you find $120,000 still to expensive, there is an even cheaper $35,000 option available very similar to the studios the charity builds and installs.

Using its expertise

Jo Swift who is CEO of Kids under Cover says the charity wants to use its expertise in building these micro homes to sell them to the general public with the intention of using the profits to fund the charity’s core programs. The one thing you need to be aware of when buying these homes is there is a crucial element missing and that is land. If happen to be living in your parent’s backyard and they are also amenable to it, then a micro home could be just your thing.

Hosing affordability is a major issue

Housing affordability is a major issue in Australia. Mr Callan says his adult children say to him they don’t know how they will be able to come up with a deposit. The reality of micro homes is they can be delivered on the ground for as low as $170,000 which is affordable for most people. Elderly individuals looking to downsize or live closer to relatives could also benefit from this type of home.

Demand for charity’s services rising

Ms Swift says demand for the charity’s services is increasing every year and in particular there has been a spike in the last few years. The charity’s findings are consistent with the latest census data covering the last five years which indicates that youth homelessness has risen by 14 per cent. Ms Swift says the charity installs approximately 70 relocatable studios each year and already has a waiting list for the next financial year.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

As Syrian Civil War Enters Eighth Year Caritas Australia Remains Committed

Rohingya Refugees

The crisis in Syria is now officially in its eighth year and throughout that time Caritas has maintained its support of the children who have been displaced by the civil war taking place in that country. The crisis is now so acute, it has become the largest displacement since the Second World War. Caritas Australia which is the international aid agency of the Catholic Church seeks to deliver some hope to children caught up in the conflict by providing education.

Before the war life was fine

One example of this is Bayan who is a 12-year-old girl who makes up one of the 5.6 million refugees from Syria who have sought sanctuary in neighbouring countries in the region. Bayan and her family currently live in Jordan, though she was born along with her six siblings in Syria’s capital Damascus. Her father used to work in construction whilst her mother was a homemaker. Bayan’s mother Hanan says before the outbreak of war, she and her family felt safe and led a comfortable life. She adds that prior to the war everything was fine, living expenses were affordable and her children could get an education.

Violence is endemic

The situation is nothing like that for the people who have chosen to remain in Syria. There are frequent outbreaks of violence such as in Eastern Ghouta where more than 800 people died recently and the threat to people’s lives is a constant one. The violence results in the destruction of schools and hospitals and ends up displacing or even tearing apart families. According to the World Health Organisation 37 per cent of Syria’s hospitals no longer function at all and 57 per cent have been damaged.

Trauma is being transferred

Suzy McIntyre, a spokesperson for Caritas says one area that is sometimes overlooked is the trauma faced by children who may not have personally witnessed the conflict for themselves but may experience the transfer of the severe effects of trauma faced by their older siblings and parents. Bayan is one of the lucky ones, she is one of 8,000 students who attend 25 Caritas run schools operating in Jordan. When it is safe her family hopes to return to Syria, nevertheless she remains committed to continuing her education no matter where she lives.

Caritas says Australian government support has been invaluable

Bayan says she hopes to become an ophthalmologist because our ability to see is the most important thing in our lives. She says had she not been able to see, she would not be able to read, write or learn. Caritas Australia says it grateful for the continuing support it receives from the Australian government through the Australian Humanitarian Partnership. The agency says the government support plays an important role in the success of its programs that help improve the lives of students such as Bayan.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

South Australia Pride of Australia Winners Announced

Charity Image

A teacher, student, charity worker and consumer adviser at the Royal Adelaide Hospital have been named as this year’s South Australia’s Pride of Australia winners. These four community spirited individuals are truly inspiring and their contributions to society made them the stand out choices for the popular News Corp award from dozens of other well deserving nominees.

Transforming the lives of at risk children

Rachael Zaltron is a charity worker who established an organisation named Backpacks4SAKids in 2014 to honour the memory of a friend who passed away before being able to achieve her dream of becoming a foster care mum. Ms Zaltron’s charity transforms the life of children who are homeless or part of the system, as well as families seeking to rebuild their lives after domestic violence. The organisation has 200 volunteers who distribute over 2,500 backpacks every year.

Supporting kids with cancer

At just nine years old Harriette Rogers is anxious to show of her medal to her classmates at Seymour College. Her compatriots supported her in her effort to grow her hair as long as it could grow, so that it could be cut off and used to make wigs for children suffering from cancer and had lost their own hair as a result of treatment. Harriette grew her hair for two years and was able to trim a whopping 35 centimetres. She says she is considering doing it all over again, though her mum isn’t too keen on having to untie all the resulting knots again! The young lady also organised a fund-raising bike ride to add to the $3,200 she had already raised for Canteen, a charity dedicated to supporting kids suffering from cancer.

Helping families deal with dementia

Brett Partington is a consumer adviser who established and online support group to provide assistance to families dealing with relatives suffering from dementia. The group has over 1,200 members and all of them have praised Brett and his family including mother Jan and sister Jane. When Brett’s father Bob was diagnosed with dementia, the family rallied round and provided one another with support. Brett says his family have gone through hell but hopes he can provide assistance to other families travelling down the same road now.

Getting men to help educate young kids

Steven Cameron founded the Australian Association for Men in Early Childhood Education. Steven says he was truly humbled when he found out the support staff at Kidman Park’s Kiker Memorial Kindergarten had nominated him for the award. He says the fact that he knew they thought so highly of him was so special that he didn’t care whether he won the award or not. Steven says it’s great to win a medal and will look very nice sitting next to another medal he won for Kung Fu!

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Charity Tin Thefts On The Rise In Perth

Juvenile Detention

Recently a thief was caught on closed circuit television entering a children’s play centre in Perth and stealing two charity tins. You have to ask yourself what kind of person steals money from people who desperately need it? but thieves obviously have no sense of morality to begin with which is why they steal in the first place. In this case the woman strolled into the children’s centre in Wanneroo Western Australia with a wig on her head. She then proceeded to swipe the two charity tins and hide them in her handbag.

Something must be wrong with the thief

In an interview with a local newspaper a spokesperson for the children’s centre said she believes that perhaps there may be something wrong with the woman. Ms Lynda Brooks from Chipmunks Playland and Café says there is something particular about the woman in question and the centre is worried about the woman’s life. Ms Brooks says she and her colleagues want to know why someone would steal charity money and speculate that either she is homeless or on drugs. Instead of outrage Ms Brooks and her colleagues feel compassion and want the thief to receive the help she probably needs. She adds that it’s the children who are donating their pocket money to the tins because the centre is trying to teach them that charity is a good value to have.

Charities lose out on donations

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and charity tin thefts throughout Perth have been on the rise robbing charities of thousands of dollars’ worth of donations. For her part Ms Brooks says her organisation will not lose heart and intend to hold a charity event which will raise money to replace what was stolen. She asked the question posed at the beginning of this post, who would steal charity tins from a play centre? Staff members commented that the footage suggested it was like her daily routine.

Teaching the children not to give up

Ms Brooks says that people with cancer or who have had parents pass away from cancer help with the charity so she thinks its really important not to play the victim and teach the children not give up when something terrible like this happens. The play centre reported the incident to West Australia Police and provided them with the footage. They hope that the police will be able to develop some leads, unfortunately with these types of cases, that is going to be highly unlikely.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Oxfam Australia Chief Says The World Needs To Recommit To Human Rights

Oxfam Australia Says The Country Needs To Do More To Fight Climate Change

Helen Szoke is the Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia and her rise to the position has been a long journey. She recalls that one of her first jobs was defending the rights of a community in Melbourne that had been all-but-forgotten. In a recent newspaper interview, Dr Szoke says she was working with poor families that had been that way for generations and were not able to achieve upward mobility. Despite that fact, she says these people taught her a lot about how resilient humans can be and the importance of community which is a lesson that has remained with her to this day.

Recognised for her work

At the start of the year as part of Australian Day honours Dr Szoke was made an Officer of the Order of Australia. The award was made in recognition of Dr Szoke’s work over the course of her entire career and not just with Oxfam Australia. Previously Dr Szoke served as commissioner of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission. She also served as race discrimination commissioner with the Australian Human Rights Commission and has worked in a wide variety of other fields ranging from health to workplace harassment.

Worried about human rights

Dr Szoke says the award is humbling and adds that she feels blessed to have had the opportunity to work in so many different areas and the acknowledgment is ‘icing on the cake”. Dr Szoke says that her time spent with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission where she was tasked with implementing the Human Rights Act in Victoria was an “especially fruitful” experience. Dr Szoke says that whilst there have been significant gains made in protection of human rights over the course of her career, the global trend continues to be worrying.

The world has to deal with some big problems

Dr Szoke says that we live in a world filled with disruption and there is a rising trend of nationalism in developed countries which means the commitment to enhancing and advancing human rights is being compromised. There are big problems that the world is trying to grapple with. These include growing income inequality and poverty as well as the impact of climate change. Therefore, it is important to reform the global tax system in order to finance social protections as well as deal with conflict and the mass displacement it causes.

Countries should not bury their head in the sand

Dr Szoke thinks that countries and their governments should resist the temptation to turn inwards during periods of global volatility and instead be more proactive and “act in more global ways”. She ends with the idea that there needs to be a re-commitment to the framework of global human rights and that there is simply no room for complacency because it is critical that we get ahead of it and deal with it.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Oxfam Says Income Inequality In Australia Is The Worst Its Ever Been

income inequality

Since the global financial crisis, the number of Australian billionaires has doubled, rising from 14 in 2008 to 33 in 2017. During the same period of time, the average Australian household’s wealth increased by just 12 per cent, with wage growth declining to its lowest level on record and failing to keep up with the rising cost of living. Despite efforts by the government to depict Australia as a country where income inequality is not a problem, Oxfam Australia recently released a report which found quite the opposite, that in fact, income inequality is on the rise.

The rich get richer

The report was released last month to coincide with the annual World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland where every year, the global elite meet. The report used data from Credit Suisse which showed that that richest 1 per cent of Australians controlled 23 per cent of the country’s wealth in 2017 and top 1 per cent owned more than the bottom 70 per cent combined. The Oxfam report emphasises the fact that income inequality in Australia has been steadily growing over the last twenty years and the gap between the wealthiest 1 per cent and the bottom 50 per cent is now the widest it has ever been over this time period.

Australia ranks poorly compared to other developed countries

Income inequality in Australia compares poorly with other developed economies that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. According to a recent OECD data in 2014 the Gini coefficient which is a measure of income inequality was 0.33 (A score of 0 represents complete equality and 1.00 total inequality) putting Australian 22 out of 35 OECD countries in terms of income inequality. The Oxfam report adds that during 2017 the number of Australian billionaires increased and wealth rose by the most since the start of the century.

Broken economic system

The total wealth held by Australian billionaires increased by $38 billion in 2017 which is enough to finance had of Australia’s public health budget during 2016-2017.  Dr Helen Szoke Oxfam Australia chief executive says the organisation is committed to tackling poverty and inequality. Unfortunately, the economic system appears to be broken with increasing amounts of wealth being concentrated in fewer hands whilst ordinary people continue to struggle just to survive.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

This Year’s Australian Open Had A Charitable Element Thanks To ANZ

This Year’s Australian Open Had A Charitable Element Thanks To ANZ

Last month’s Australian Open was yet again another fantastic spectacle of tennis which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. It was fabulous to see the aging Roger Federer continue his renaissance by winning yet another Grand Slam and breaking more records in the process. Whilst most people were gripped by what was happening on the courts of Melbourne Park few people know that ANZ bank committed to donating $10 to charity for every ace that was hit over the course of the tournament.

Funding financial well being programs across Australia

The money ANZ donates will be used to fund financial well being programs throughout Australia. In order to ensure that the money ends up in the hands of those that need it the most, the Australian bank has teamed up with The Smith Family, The Benevolent Society, Berry Street and Brotherhood of St Laurence. Anton Leschen a spokesperson for the Smith Family says the money that was raised will be used to fund programs designed to deliver aid to people all over the country living around the poverty line or below it.

Over a million children living below the poverty line

Mr Leschen says it is estimated that there are 1.1 million children and young people living below the poverty line, so it is critical that financial literacy is improved wherever possible. He adds that the programs help people participating in them to identify where their money is leaking and how to examine their expenditure to ensure that it can be spread further. For example, buying a can of coke every day or that special treat once in a while is a classic example of a money leak. People also fail to understand that it is cheaper to buy their groceries from a big supermarket rather than from a local corner store.

Teaching financial literacy

Mr Leschen says the skills people learn from the programs funded by ANZ could help set them up for the long term. He adds that it is a well-known fact that people under the age of 25 are the least financially literate so the habits they pick up from the program are for life. This means they learn skills that can be used over the course of their entire life, become financially literate all of which adds up to thousands of dollars for people to lead happier lives. ANZ has committed to donating a minimum of $100,000 as part of the Ace the Open program and it looks like it will be money well spent.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Caritas Australia To Kick Off This Year’s Project Compassion On February 14th  

Caritas Logo

Caritas Australia passionately believes that young people are an important part of the solution to the many problems of their communities. As a result, Caritas organises Project Compassion every year which seeks to mobilise hundreds of thousands of students as well as Australians spanning all generations to take action to help Australia’s neighbours. On Ash Wednesday which takes place on February 14th  2018 Caritas Australia will launch this year’s Project Compassion appeal which is one of the largest fundraising and awareness campaigns in Australia.

Takes place over Lent

Every year, Project Compassion takes place over the six-week period of Lent and is designed to bring together Australia’s diverse communities to show their solidarity with the world’s poor. The funds raised will be used to help end poverty, deliver justice and maintain dignity. This year, the focus of the effort will be on youth and their communities all over the world and helping to provide them with a “Just Future”

Supporting young people

The United Nations estimates that approximately 250 million children globally live in conflict zones. Caritas Australia strongly believes that its work and the contribution of young people is critical to delivering a sustainable peace. A spokesperson for Caritas says it is young people who are more often than not the game changers in fragile contexts globally. He cited one example where a Syrian child living in the capital Damascus struggled to overcome the trauma of living in a war zone. Now the child has grown into an academic high-achiever and is flourishing thanks to going to a school in a stable environment that was made possible by Caritas Australia and its partners in Jordan.

Important to invest in youth

David Armstrong, Caritas Head of Engagement and Sustainability says that youth represent the future and are the best hoper for a better tomorrow. Engaging and investing in millions of young people all over the world living in fragile environments has never been more important. Mr Armstrong hopes that Australians come out and support Project Compassion because the donations are important and make a massive difference to the aid agency’s ability to help communities that are vulnerable around the world.

Support Caritas Australia’s work around the world

The money that is raised during Project Compassion will be used to fund Caritas Australia’s humanitarian and development programs that span 27 countries across the world including Australia’s First Peoples. Last year the exercise managed to raise an astonishing $11 million and as a result thanks to the support of ordinary Australians, Caritas Australia was able to reach more than 2 million people through its emergency and development programs.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Australia Needs To Develop A Culture Of Giving

Australian Charities Would Befit Hugely If People Left Bequests

Australia likes to think of itself as a generous country, and in many measures for most ordinary Aussies, this is true. However, when the tax data of high net worth individuals was looked at, that is those people who have a taxable income exceeding $1 million, four in ten of those tax payers made zero tax deductions during the 2014-2015 financial year.

Australia should be more like the United States

Wendy Sciafe, who is director of the Australian Centre for Philanthropy Non-Pofit Studies at QUT says she would like Australia to become more like the United States and develop a culture where donating to charity is normal and there is a strong giving culture. Ms Sciafe says in the United States, if you are not donating to charity then you are seen as being a little bit weird.

Australia is very egalitarian

She adds that the two main factors that contribute to America’s strong philanthropic culture are traditions of asking and celebrating wealth. Australia is quite different, Australians tend to eschew celebrating their wealth and are reluctant to ask. In that regard Australia is far more egalitarian than the United States.

So how much time and money do we give?

According to the Giving Australia 2016 report 8.7 million people gave 932 hours of their time at charities and non-profits. During the same period of time $11.2 billion was donated to charity by 14.9 million people or 80.8 per cent of the adult population. The average donation in 2016 was $746 or about one per cent of the average Australian income.

Australians can easily afford to give more

Ms Scaife makes the point that we spend $200 million on Easter eggs and $13.6 billion at Christmas which means most Australians can easily afford to donate more money. This does make you pause and think that since most Australians are doing okay, we really could raise our sights. A decade ago, 87 per cent of Australian adults donated $5.7 billion which in 2016 terms is about $7.5 billion. Today there are fewer Australians giving money to charity but those that do are actually giving much more. This reflects the level of inequality in Australia today.

Lack of trust

Another major reason for the decline in the number of people donating to charity is simply a lack of trust. Many people are worried that their money will be used to purchase a flashy car for the charity’s leader which in actual fact, that rarely occurs. Most non-profits are very big organisations that are extremely complex and therefore need extremely qualified leaders to run them. However, people have the expectation that these organisations should be led and run by volunteers. This is simply unrealistic. Its just not possible to work without computers and the people to deliver the services and money is needed for infrastructure.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

Australian Charities Appeal For Funds To Help Deal With Rohingya Crisis

Syrian Refugees

An international appeal to fund the Rohingya crisis has so far raised $278 million. Whilst that sounds a lot, the crisis is one of the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies and the amount raised is less than half of what is needed experts say. The United Nations and International aid agencies have requested $562 million in funding to deliver humanitarian aid to 1.2 million people living in Bangladeshi refugee camps.

Text book ethnic cleansing

Aid workers have expanded their distribution of non-food items and shelter as winter began and health workers have widened their vaccination programs as disease rapidly spread through the camps including diphtheria which is highly contagious. Well over half a million Rohingya Muslims have been forced to flee Myanmar since August last year when the country began systematically attacking Rohingya villages in what is seen to be by the United Nations as a text book case of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Survivors say they have witnessed organised rapes, the burning of children and villages being torched.

Australia is doing its bit

Australia has participated in the International response as the Australian Red Cross and the UNCHR have together raised millions of dollars which are being matched by the Australian government. A spokesperson for the Red Cross says the money raided will be spent on delivering healthcare to the sick and injured as well as running field hospitals and mobile clinics. Families will also be able to access clean water and sanitation.

Oxfam says crisis likely to last for years

Save the Children Australia says it has raised over $500,000 which is a great achievement and Oxfam has raised a further $300,0000. Oxfam CEO Dr Helen Szoke says however, that support for the refugees has not kept pace with the sheer scale of the crisis and there is an urgent need for an increase. Dr Szoke adds that is highly likely that crisis will continue for years so it is important that donors provide support for longer term requirements.

Australian government making a contribution

The Australian government says it will spend $30 million of its $3 billion annual overseas aid budget on the Rohingya crisis which includes up to $5 million to match private contributions. The government is also lending its support to programs being run by a variety of Australian charities and is urging the Australian public to give generously. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the support of ordinary Australians will deliver life-saving assistance to those that have found themselves caught up in the crisis.

"Please note, any prices mentioned in the Charity Gifts blog are correct at the time of posting. Please check the relevant website for the latest pricing information."

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