Archive for the 'social justice' Category

School Aid in Haiti

So help me, if just one person complains to me in the next two weeks about having to go back to work, I’ll dropkick them. If ever there has been an issue that has challenged us to appreciate just how lucky most of us are (well, most of us in the ‘Western’ world), then surely the Haiti earthquake has been the definitive one. Haiti earthquake

Trying to sort through the media scrum in their reporting of this disaster is always problematic, yet it’s pretty obvious that the magnitude of this event is as momentous as any that has occurred in the past fifty years on Earth.

And so, we each have a choice. We can express our sympathies at the next coffee club meeting, and roll our eyes at the misery being faced by so many of our fellow citizens (and they are our fellow citizens. They’re just in another country. Which happens to be on the same planet).

Or, we can each really do something about this.

So here’s at least one thing you can do. If you’re reading this, then you’re probably involved in education. If you are, then get involved in the School Aid appeal. School Aid have teamed up with Plan Australia and Save the Children to launch a co-ordinated appeal to all school students. A guaranteed 90% of all funds raised will be directly spent on the kids who are still alive in Haiti. If you encourage your students to raise funds for this cause, it will essentially be a case of Kids Helping Kids. And that’s just the sort of world we all want to see being created up ahead.

Screen shot 2010-01-18 at 9.23.09 PMWhen a disaster of this magnitude occurs, it’s obvious that the world must unite for the one cause, and provide the support that is so necessary. If you’re socially just, you’ll appreciate the worth of this sentiment.

Get your students involved. It’s good for them; and it’s good for the planet. At the very least, it might go a small way towards helping lots of kids who desperately need it right now.

Chicken A La Carte

Whew. How much longer is the world going to cope with comprehensive social injustices that cannot be sustained??

This video goes for 6 mins. The first 2 of those seem to drift a little. Hang in on it. And if you do linger for the total time, I dare you to stay ambivalent about this issue.

Donating It Forward

Are you familiar with the concept of Pay It Forward? A neat little book, and movie, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Well, I am. And so I’ve teamed up with a Sydney colleague called Blake Beattie to offer a variation on this Pay It Forward.

It’s called Donate It Forward, and it’s meant to challenge people on the way that they’ll make use of our prime minister’s largesse. Namely, the $900 handout that will soon end up in many Aussie’s pockets.

So, rather than just spend it on yourself, we’re asking people to donate part or all of it to a registered charity that could most definitely make use of the money.

Our initial target is that 10 000 people will donate $50 each. A total of $500 000. And just imagine the possibilities if a million people donated $500 each. I can only dream.

And yet, who knows. The world is giving us messages right now about our selfish selves. Maybe it’s about time that we learned to recognise that we’re all in this scene together. And sometimes, that means that we need to support others who are less fortunate.

The Lost Generation


Love this video. Only goes for about 1.45. A delicious twist in the middle. Neat effect. Thanks to Alissa for sending this through to me. 

Schools supporting bushfire victims

Image courtesy of Dave Fregon

For a change, believe what you hear in the media. The devastation of these bushfires is horrendous, and has impacted in the most profound manner upon countless people.

I’ve stood in the very same place that this photo wad taken, and I struggle to believe that this entire area has been devastated by the Victorian bushfires. Lives have been lost within metres of this street.

Several of my very close friends in the affected regions have convinced me that the past few days have been beyond human comprehension. Truly, the gates of hell were left open for just a little too long.

Many of you who read this blog are involved with schools. I’m going to offer a very pragmatic way that you can help.

In Australia, a non-profit organisation called School Aid co-ordinates fundraising and support when a serious disaster occurs. I know all about this organisation, because I’ve been involved with it for years.

Here’s how it works.

School Aid raise funds from schools throughout Australia and overseas, and then distributes those funds to those most in need after the disaster. We’ve apportioned well over a milllion dollars to kids in Beslan, to kids in post-tsunami Indonesia, and to children devastated by last year’s earthquakes in China.

We guarantee that 90% of the funds that are raised are distributed to the victims of the disaster. This is enshrined in our charter, and administered by our relevant legal authorities.

Here’s what you can do. Go and register here, and then encourage your students to raise money for children who were devastated by this natural disaster. Tell other schools how you raised the money (if you wish, although you don’t have to), or simply send what you raise to our fund.

If you live outside Australia, and you are asked to choose a state in which you live, pick any one of them. Sorry, we haven’t adjusted this in time to take account of the immediate need of this disaster.

Once you raise the monies that are collected by your school, we will then distribute those funds to support young victims of the Victorian fires. This will be reported on our website, so that you can then tell your own students what happened to the money that they raised.

I’ve worked with schools in Australia, Asia, New Zealand, the US and Canada, and I ask every one of them to get involved. This is not just an Australian issue. This is a world issue. If a similar tragedy occurred in any of those locations, Australian kids would contribute significantly. And they have. I ask you to do the same.