Interviews with Our Good Neighbours

Good Neighbour #4: HOME789

In the fourth installment of Interviews with our Good Neighbours, where we feature stories of those involved with Good Neighbors Australia, our focus is on a corporate entity. Please welcome #GoodNeighbour HOME789!

During our COVID-19 relief campaign earlier this year, Sydney based Property Service Company HOME789 generously donated 6000 masks as 'gifts in kind' to Good Neighbors Australia. It was a great help as we ended up distributing over 500 hampers containing food and essential hygiene products to the local Australian community. People that received the COVID-19 relief packages include single-parent, refugee and temporary-visa groups. 

For this interview, we spoke with the CEO of HOME789, Walton Chu. Read on to find out more about their journey with us!

"Lots of people were affected and so during this incident, we were immersed in raising money for the local community. And so every year since then, we have been heavily involved in charity work..."

- Walton Chu, CEO of HOME789

GN: Could you tell us a little bit about HOME789 and what it stands for?

WC: HOME789 is a Sydney-based property service company and is publicly listed on the NSX. We are a company that really strives to care for our clients, as we deliver professional and exclusive consultations and guide our clients from the start of their journey to the end. Our goal is not just about selling property, but rather, about building the trust and representing our clients’ greatest assets to their best advantage.

GN: How would you describe your corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities? 

WC: We believe that since we are contributing to the economy, we should also give back. At HOME789, we believe that behaving responsibly is critical for the company. But you could say that we have an active role in helping children. 

Ever since our establishment in 2008, we have been working with different child sponsorship foundations each year. As you may be aware, there was an earthquake in China in 2008. Lots of people were affected and so during this incident, we were immersed in raising money for the local community. And so every year since then, we have been heavily involved in charity work and other similar organisations including working with children medical research institutes, CareFlight, the Red Cross, Lionheart Foundation and many more. 

 

GN: What about yourself specifically? What would you say your interest in philanthropic work stemmed from?

WC: Personally, since I come from a Buddhist background, I believe that when we die we can’t take anything with us. I strongly believe that we are temporary containers—the money doesn’t belong to me, so I have the responsibility to send the money to places and not keep it. I believe that my role is to the people who really need it. Like Winston Churchill said, “It was the nation and the race dwelling all around the globe that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.” I agree with him 100%. We don’t need to be attached to materialistic products. Instead, we should help those people in need to live.

 

GN: What are your thoughts on the COVID-19 situation?

WC: Yes, so I do have a medical background—I have a bachelor’s degree in medicine, and a master's degree in public health. Initially, I was focussed on clinical medical treatment on the prevention of diseases, but we always believe that prevention takes priority over treatment. 

From my medical perspective, yes, we can and should treat people, but why not take some preventative measures in the beginning to stop the disease from being spread? COVID-19 is an interesting situation because it is like another flu rapidly being transmitted. Since we haven’t gotten vaccines—as there are no developed drugs to treat this virus yet—at this stage, we have to do something to stop the transmission from human to human.

From both the government’s and medical professional’s point of view, we strongly recommend people to wash their hands and to wear face masks. This is why we donated the 6000 face masks to Good Neighbors Australia. In the future as well, we still have some masks that we would like to donate. We have to protect ourselves to prevent the virus.

 

GN: How would you describe HOME789's time working with Good Neighbors Australia?

WC: I believe that you do strong work. You are global leaders, and are present in so many countries around the world. Your organisation brings assistance to people who are in vulnerable situations. To be honest, we can’t physically get involved in helping the community, so we do need organisations such as Good Neighbors Australia.

We need organisations who are down-to-earth to help the community. We really appreciate you guys. In a sense, you guys are like a platform - or a channel - for businesses, because to be honest as a business sometimes we can’t do anything. That’s why I think you’re especially brave during the pandemic period. It’s quite dangerous to actually be at the forefront. We really respect all the effort you guys put in.

 Thank you HOME789, we could not have helped as many local Aussies in the community without you!

If you enjoyed this interview, check out our other #GoodNeighbour interviews, such as with our treasurer or in-house lawyer! 

Are you a business owner feeling inspired by HOME789?

Helping the community is always appreciated, but it can sometimes be hard to do this as a business. That's why you can give back to the community with 'gifts in kind'. Good Neighbors Australia welcomes all 'gifts in kind' donations, which include educational material, electronics, medicines and more. See below for a basic overview of our 'gifts in kind' donation process. For more information, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us - we are happy to answer any questions!

Join us today!

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Here at Good Neighbors Australia, we stand for the eventual eradication of poverty. In fact, it is one of our core values. That’s why the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is particularly important to us. Held annually on the 17th of October, it recognises and sends a message on the very prevalent existence of poverty.

But what exactly is poverty? Contrary to popular belief, poverty is not just about individuals living in starvation – there are other forms too. Poverty is actually a generalised term, because in the development sector there are in fact six types of poverty:

1. Situational – is often temporary, and caused by a sudden crisis
2. Generational – occurs when two generations are born in poverty, and is often stuck in the poverty cycle
3. Absolute – the scarcity of essential resources like water, food and shelter. Those living in this category usually focus on day-to-day survival
4. Relative – is when individual(s) cannot meet the average cost of living in their area
5. Urban – occurs in metropolitan areas and encounter problems such as overcrowding, violence and excessive noise
6. Rural – occurs in non-metropolitan areas, whose issues stem from a lack of services to support health and education needs

In Australia, these poverty types are very much prevalent today. According to this document, Australia had one of the highest rates of poverty amongst the OECD countries, with 12.8% of the population living in poverty from 2014-2015. The average was only 12.1%.

Regrettably, this statistic has only risen. As of 2020, 3.24 million people in Australia (that’s 13.6% of the total population) live below the poverty line – which is currently a median of $457 per week. What’s more, research shows that children and young adults are most affected by poverty. A large majority of these individuals also skip breakfast in order to save money for rent and other utilities, which is detrimental towards their mental and physical development. (APO, 2020) 

So what exactly have we been doing to eradicate poverty?

Within Australia, we have done much within the past year in helping communities who need it most. Our partnership with OzHarvest led to $10 000 worth of meals being provided for families in both New South Wales and Victoria. These locations include: Forbes River, Nowra, Ulladulla, Kempsey, Narooma, Bright, South Nowra and Armidale.

We have also launched TWO campaigns, which focussed on providing Covid-19 and winter-relief for struggling minorities in Australia. Each containing essential items such as food, face masks and blankets, a total of 600 hampers across the two local projects were distributed to the public. This is inclusive of: single-parent, refugee and temporary visa groups. The second project, also known as the Winter Warmer campaign, was also approved of by the State Government of New South Wales.

Elsewhere on the globe in Vietnam, one of the main countries we are supporting, steps have been taken towards eradicating poverty. We were involved in sponsoring the Annual Gift campaign, where bags of rice and rice cookers were delivered to the Yen Thanh and Tan Bac communities. Additionally, Covid-19 aid in the form of hand sanitisers, thermometers and more were given since April to several rural Vietnamese schools. Right now, 1 601 families are being sponsored by Good Neighbors.

Overall, our worldwide campaigns aim to break the poverty cycle. Good Neighbors’ community development projects (CDP) in 43 countries help children and families at risk. Donations raised from fundraising offices, including Good Neighbors Australia, are pooled into a project fund where tailored projects are conducted to resolve this issue from within the community.

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, just what is our stance on poverty? The answer is simple: we will always work towards ending it. 

Join us in ending poverty today. 

International Day of Peace

In the humanitarian sector, few days are more momentous than the International Day of Peace. Originally established in 1981 by the United Nations, it occurs annually on the 21st of September. This year marks the 39th time the International Day of Peace has been observed across the globe. The International Day of Peace dedicates 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire, and represents the ideal of peace – which, especially in the year 2020, is an ideal that is needed more than ever.

Worldwide, 2020 has been a crisis-filled start to the new decade, and accentuates the necessity for world peace. From the persistent presence of the 2019 coronavirus, to other traumatic events like the explosions in Beirut, Lebanon, billions across the globe have been negatively affected. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has been classified by many international bodies and organisations as a threat that challenges world peace. In fact, the United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that:

[it is] critical to mitigate the peace and security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic… [because it is] potentially leading to an increase in social unrest and violence that would greatly undermine our ability to fight the disease.”

COVID-19 has not only been a health hazard, but an issue in terms of global security as well. Both international and domestic conflict resolution efforts have been hindered, with some countries potentially risking militants seeing this pandemic as an opportunity to strike. Conversely, the pandemic has also affected a country’s ability to recover, such as in Lebanon. After the explosions last month in early August, almost 200 people are dead, 5000 injured, and over 300 000 are displaced and homeless. Yet, recovery has been slow, partially due to the social restrictions in place to prevent citizens from contracting COVID-19. In times of dire strife, the International Day of Peace 2020 serves as a reminder for solidarity.

However, those in the humanitarian sector have persisted in fulfilling their duties, no matter the cost. For instance, the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar resulted in at least 723 000 Rohingya peoples taking refuge in Bangladesh. Extensive action has been taken by international humanitarian organisations collectively for the sake of securing peace for the Rohingya refugees. Good Neighbors Bangladesh, partner base of Good Neighbors Australia, is one of those organisations. They have distributed emergency relief under the Rohingya Emergency Response (RER) to 5960 Rohingya peoples, over four phases. More than 300 children, and 4000 girls and women have also been receiving aid as per the local projects Good Neighbors Bangladesh has implemented.

Such projects aimed to create a positive environment for children to learn, play and develop, and so the Child Friendly Space (CBS) project was launched. Plenty of activities are held, including psycho-social support, case management, games, physical exercise, community-based child protection and education.

Similarly, Women Friendly Spaces (WFS) were also initiated, and is a supportive community for females affected by gender-based violence. In this project, home visits were conducted if necessary, but like the CFS activities mainly consisted of education on health and safety, as well as providing psycho-social support. A total of 3 Child Friendly Spaces and 2 Women Friendly Spaces have been established in Ukhia, Bangladesh this year. Good Neighbors Bangladesh has a blog post dedicated to these projects, which you can read here for further information.

With the world in shambles right now, the message of the International Day of Peace this year reiterates and emphasises the need for solidarity, and for nations to be united in their stance in remedying the pandemic. It is a day to remember that we are all human, and part of one large international community. Join Good Neighbors Australia this year as we observe the International Day of Peace, and work towards a world of peace.

Feeling inspired? 

World Humanitarian Day

Wednesday, 19 August marks World Humanitarian Day. For the international development community, this is an especially significant day. It was first established in 2009 by the United Nations, to commemorate the 22 people killed in the 2003 bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq. In essence, World Humanitarian Day recognises the humanitarian workers who passed away while providing protection and support for those who need it most.

 

Indonesia Earthquake Newsletter2-Donation Australia

However, it also celebrates the present workers who are putting their utmost efforts into aid, such as health epidemics like COVID-19, or other crises affecting the livelihoods of people in the world. The United Nations, as well as many non-profit organisations across the globe, take this day to honour and thank these brave workers.

And this year is no different. In the international humanitarian sector, numerous not-for-profit organisations directed their efforts towards helping those affected by the 2019 coronavirus. Though it has had a detrimental affect worldwide, those in countries with inadequate public health infrastructure have greatly suffered. Examples include the Pacific Island nations, such as Samoa, Tonga and many more. That’s not the only humanitarian issue addressed though. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is working towards fulfilling the Agenda 2030. They pledged their assistance towards arranging inclusive and integrated services for sexual and reproductive health. In addition, they also intend to meet the needs of survivors of gender-based violence, including mental health care and psychosocial support.

World Humanitarian Day is simply a day where we pay respect to these dedicated individuals and institutions striving for harmony. At Good Neighbors Australia, we are doing our best for humanitarian efforts too. Domestically, we collaborated with OzHarvest to provide meals for those affected by the Australian bushfires early in January this year. Over $10 000 AUD was donated to the campaign, which went towards the meal procurement and preparation for those in the New South Wales South Coast, Southern Highlands, North Coast and Wagga region. In May, we also distributed over 500 boxes of essential items including food and hygiene items such as face masks, to those unable to receive government support during COVID-19. The Syrian and Iranian refugees, as well as the Khmer and Vietnamese communities in Sydney were amongst those who received the packages.

Currently, we are in the midst of launching our Winter Warmer Hamper campaign, as approved of by the NSW State Government. Similar to the previous two projects this year, the campaign aims to deliver kits with winter essentials to help fellow Australians who may be struggling from the chilly winter. Items include blankets from Ikea, face masks, and other food items. Although we would like to help everyone, due to budget constraints the target demographic for the Winter Warmer Hamper is the culturally and lingually-diverse community (CALD), as well as single-parent families.

On an international scale, Good Neighbors Australia assisted the partner base in Vietnam. We provided the funds for community-based projects, which ranged from procuring medical supplies to activity-support. The Good Neighbors team in Vietnam worked tirelessly to maintain contact with sponsored families and children, to check on their wellbeing during the outbreak. Pets belonging to these sponsored families were also given aid-relief. On top of that, 2940 face masks, 454 dry hand-wash sanitisers and 12 thermometers were distributed for children in both primary and secondary schools. All activities were conducted in line with the social distancing protocols in Vietnam.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the globe, a (staff) volunteer  from Good Neighbors Australia was featured on Héroes des de Casa, a Good Neighbors Guatemala project. The Guatemala team launched a singing competition and Facebook broadcast, with hopes of educating the community on hygienic practices, as well as creating communal entertainment for Guatemalans in their homes. 

On every day of the year – and not just on World Humanitarian Day – Good Neighbors Australia’s Support a Community Program is at the heart of Good Neighbors' efforts in making the world a better place. Good Neighbors partners have more than 210 Community Development Projects (CDP) across 43 countries, as a base of our program implementation. Good Neighbors' CDP-based approach contributes to broader service delivery by addressing the community's needs and covers: Water & Sanitation, Education, Health & Medical, Income Generation and Emergency Relief.

On World Humanitarian Day, it is a time for commemoration. For appreciation. And most importantly, for the continual reminder that we are all part of a global community. Compassion is the driving heart behind humanity, and we should all remember that we are neighbours.

Good neighbours. 

Feeling inspired? 

[GN World Stories #1] Facing the battle together 

The current coronavirus pandemic has seen devastating effects across the globe. In many ways, this crisis has shone a light on deep-rooted systemic inequities and the far-reaching effects of economic disparities. The pandemic has highlighted the link between national wealth and the potential for health and economic resilience, with the poorest countries being hit the hardest. The limited resources and government capacities of developing countries make containment of the disease particularly difficult. 

 

A major issue for poorer countries is the lack of resources to conduct coronavirus testing (low-income countries have carried out less than 1% of the number of tests conducted by high-income countries). The fears for developing countries include the high potential for virus spread in overcrowded regions, further economic distress and inability to recover, and a lack of resources to test and treat the virus. Insufficient protective equipment in medical facilities has forced many health care workers to either put themselves at risk or leave their jobs, while hospitals that lack space and human and medical resources are turning away severely ill patients. Lockdowns in highly impoverished nations are not an option, leaving entire populations of vulnerable people at high risk.

Vulnerable communities, particularly in developing countries, are ill-equipped to control and contain the spread of COVID-19. During this global pandemic, it is our belief at Good Neighbors that we must support these vulnerable communities by helping to increase the effectiveness of and accessibility to health care facilities, procure and deliver medical equipment, and provide access to education on disease prevention.

With over 300 confirmed cases to date, Myanmar is among the developing countries affected by COVID-19. Good Neighbors Myanmar, in collaboration with the Access to Health Fund (managed by the United Nations Office for Project Services), has sought to combat the spread of COVID-19 in Myanmar by mobilising a total of US$700,000 (roughly AUD$1,021,560) to procure and conduct 20,000 coronavirus tests. 

This comes after a COVID-19 Emergency Response Agreement was signed by Good Neighbors Myanmar and the UNOPS in March. The project also includes a focus on promoting health and sanitisation for 30,000 families in Myanmar.

Good Neighbors families in 44 nations are responding to the need for international relief and assistance and support for vulnerable communities striving to combat not only the spread of COVID-19 but the ripple effects of wealth and income inequality on a global scale. As the Financial Review states, there has never “been a greater need for an ambitious and co-operative response

 

Feeling inspired?

In line with Good Neighbors’ global efforts in helping vulnerable communities and protecting families and children in crisis, Good Neighbors Australia also helps Australian fellows in NSW. Click the button to learn more about how we reach out to our neighbours in need.

 

 

Introducing our new treasurer! 

Good Neighbour #3: Jenny

In the third Interviews with our Good Neighbours, where we feature stories of those involved with Good Neighbors Australia, our focus is on #GoodNeighbour Jenny McKechnie!

Affectionately known as Mama Jenny in the team, she first joined us in November 2019, and mainly provided advice on our monetary-related duties. But time flew by! She remained persistent and has now been with Good Neighbors Australia for around 9 months.

And what’s more, as of July Jenny has become our official treasurer! It's truly a meaningful moment not just for Jenny, but everyone in the team too. Her journey to humanitarian volunteering is even more awe-inspiring. From working with leading Universities in Australia and New Zealand to living in Malaŵi, Africa, it really seems as though she's seen it all.

"It’s a change working for a small organisation...now I am doing what I enjoyed most from my previous role."

- Jenny McKechnie

GN: Please briefly describe your role at Good Neighbors Australia. When did you start, and what do you enjoy about it?

JM: My role is to ensure Good Neighbors Australia is doing the right thing in its accounting, tax and finance functions. I provide advice on financial matters as they arise. I started in November 2019, and I’m enjoying researching information to include in my advice. The office team is great to work with.

GN: What motivated you to join? 

JM: I had left full time work and was looking for an opportunity to use my accounting and finance skills in the voluntary sector. The Good Neighbors international partnership is doing work I want to support, so I’m happy to be a member of the team developing its work in Australia.   

GN: Were you always interested in international development?

JM: To be honest, no.  But I had always wanted to live abroad. When I moved to Malaŵi, I saw how poverty, a lack of health care and poor education were impacting the lives of everyday Malawians. It changed my view of the world.

GN: Moving to Malaŵi must have been a big change in your life. What was it like living in Africa? What do you miss most about living in Malaŵi?

JM: It was a big change, though not in a way you might expect. We were living on a private school campus where the teachers were expats. We had three domestic workers and were glad we could give them work and support three families. We weren’t encouraged to mix with locals. Nearly all Malaŵian staff lived off campus.

When we lived there, it was a one-party state. Malawians faced restrictions on what they could say and do, as did expats. Ladies weren’t allowed to wear trousers and skirts had to be below the knee. It’s different today as Malawi now has a multi-party democracy and the dress rules have gone.

I guess this is not the response you were expecting.  We did get to meet locals as we travelled around Malaŵi. We had a bach (NZ word for holiday cottage) in a village on the shore of Lake Malaŵi, where got to know some villagers and understand their lives.  It was the home of the retired Bishop of Southern Malaŵi, who had spent time in England.  He gave us English summaries of the Chichewa sermons when we went to the local church.  Malaŵi’s tourism promotion as “The Warm Heart of Africa” is well justified.  People are poor, but usually helpful and cheerful.

I miss the sunshine, the slower pace of life and having my household chores done by someone else.

GN: What is being an advisor like at a non-profit organisation? Are there significant differences when compared with your previous professional experience?

JM: It’s a change working for a small organisation. Previously I had worked in universities. Now I am doing what I enjoyed most from my previous role, which is research and advice without having to do the rest.

GN: Lastly--what's one word to describe your experiences with us at Good Neighbors Australia?

JM: Fulfilling.

 

Like Jenny, you too can start working towards a more rewarding life. We are a family that welcomes anyone and everyone, no matter the background. Simply apply to be a volunteer on our website, and we will get back to you as soon as we can! Thank you Jenny, and look forward to our next Good Neighbour feature!

Feeling motivated? Click the icon below to get started!

It's tax time!

The end of June is nearing and you know what that means—it’s tax time! Apart from major public holidays such as New Years, the 30th of June is one of the biggest days of the year here in Australia. Also known as the End of Financial Year (EOFY), on this day tax returns are due. However, did you know that there are other methods you can do with your hard-earned money, apart from submitting your tax returns? Reports suggest that there is no better way to make use of the EOFY than by contributing with last minute donations to the charity of your choice.

Of course, non-profit charities such as Good Neighbors Australia are not exempt. We are registered under the ACNC Charity Register, the official registry of all charities and non-profit organisations recognised by the Australian Federal Government. In addition, we are also a deductible gift recipient (DGR), meaning that donations above $2 at Good Neighbors Australia are able to claim tax deductions. For more details, visit the Australia Tax Office webpage.

So what are you waiting for, make the most of the EOFY by making a last-minute donation! If you are planning to, or have already donated to Good Neighbors Australia within the past financial year, read on to find out how you can claim your tax deductible donations.

Step 1: Have your donation receipt ready. We will have sent you a donation invoice after you made your donation.

Step 2: Ensure that the amount you donated is eligible for tax deductions. Usually the minimum base is $2.

Step 3: Lodge your individual tax returns and claim your deductions! Remember to record your donations in section D9.

Good Neighbors Australia strives to uphold its honest image by conducting business under three major business principles: professionalism, transparency, and sustainability. We are also committed to these responsibilities as a reliable organisation through transparent and trustworthy accounting management and organisational operations. More information on Good Neighbors Australia’s accountability policies can be found here.

Good Neighbors Australia hopes that you will continue to support our endeavours in humanitarian aid, both within the Australian community as well as our neighbouring countries. Good Neighbors as a whole has supported over 240 community projects in over 40 countries, and expects to do a whole lot more in areas including: Water & Sanitation, Education, Health & Medical, Income Generation and Emergency Relief. To make a valued contribution, follow this link. We greatly appreciate and thank any incoming donations!

Feeling motivated? Click the icon below to get started!

 The Gift of Giving 

Update on our COVID-19 Response

We can't believe that half the year has passed already! And wow, what a hectic year we have had so far. From bushfires to COVID-19, this year has certainly reinforced the need for community. As always, thank you for your suppor and donation--we have worked hard to make sure that it helps our vulnerable neighbours in need! 

©️good neighbors

Our most recent campaign was a domestic project that sought to help our marginalised neighbours negatively affected by  COVID-19. The campaign ran from mid-April to the end of May.

Hampers, otherwise known as the 'Care Kits', were delivered to those in need. Each Care Kit was filled with basic necessities, including sanitary products and food.

We cooperated with community organisations as well as volunteers to help distribute the hampers.

Neighbours we helped 

For this project, Good Neighbors Australia helped many groups get past COVID-19. These include but not limited to:

  • Refugees & asylum seekers 
  • Single parents and domestic violence victims
  • Elderly, both alone and with families  
  • Temporary visa holders going through financial hardships 

©️good neighbors

Our Partners 

We are grateful to our partnerships with Daesang, Nongshim, and CJ Foods, as well as Rainbow and Nature, HOME789, and Kago Australia.  With their help, we managed to fill the hampers with toiletries, instant noodles, and more. Learn more >>

 

 

 

Shortly, we are going to launch the second round of campaign on COVID-19 relief aid with the support of the NSW government. Stay tuned! 

We at Good Neighbors Australia wish that you remain healthy and safe from the cold!

WANNA TEAM UP WITH US?  

Check these out and collaborate with us for a good cause!

 World Day against 

Child Labour 2020

Protect Children from Child labour, 

now more than ever! 

Child labour affects more people than you realise. While the numbers have gradually dropped with each passing year, an alarmingly high rate of child labour still exists. According to the United Nations, around 218 million children aged between 5 and 17 years work full-time. These children do not attend school, nor do they have the luxury of playing. And more often than not, malnutrition often plagues them. 

In response these concerning issues, the United Nations established the International Labour Organisation (ILO) with intentions of eradicating child labour. Numerous international law conventions and treaties have also been made with similar purposes, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

©️good neighbors

The United Nations classifies child labour under three categories:

1.       The unconditional worst forms of child labour, which are internationally defined as slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labour

2.       Labour performed by a child who is under the minimum age specified for that kind of work, and that is thus likely to impede the child’s education and full development

3.       Labour that jeopardises the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child, otherwise known as “hazardous work”

There is a common misconception of child labour only existing in developing nations. This is false. 

Cases of child labour still exist all across the world—even in developed countries such as the United States. Currently, an estimated 134.2 million cases exist in Africa, Asia and the Pacific regions. Additionally, contrary to popular belief, Bangladesh actually racks up the longest hours of children labour at 32.04hours per week in 2013. 

Furthermore, statistics also show that about 71% of child labour exists in agricultural contexts, with 17% in services and 12% in the industrial sector. With such concerning data, the United Nations and ILO decided to dedicate a day to raise awareness on child labour. This is how the World Day Against Child Labour was born.

©️good neighbors

©️good neighbors

June 12 is the official date for the World Day Against Child Labour. The theme for 2020 is to ‘Protect Children from Child Labour, now more than ever!’. 

In acknowledgement of Covid-19, this year the event will be a virtual campaign in collaboration with the Global March Against Child Labour as well as the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA). Many activities are scheduled for World Day Against Child Labour. A joint paper by the ILO and UNICEF on the impact of Covid-19 on child labour will be released, where discussions will be livestreamed at 4.30pm (Geneva time). Several videos have also been uploaded on the ILO website here.

In an effort to help reduce child labour cases, Good Neighbors also has initiated several programs. In 2019, Good Neighbor’s worldwide ‘Hope Letter’ Campaign has introduced Mina’s story. Check out her story shared by our sister organisation, Good Neighbors Canada. 

 

     

At just nine-years-old at the time, Mina was raising her seven-year-old brother while working at a tobacco factory in Bangladesh. They lived in a shared house in the slums, together with their parents and five other families. Mina’s dream is to become a teacher, but her situation meant she could not receive an education. Children in Bangladesh engaged in many different forms or child labour, trapped in the poverty cycle. 

Our worldwide campaigns aim at breaking this cycle of poverty at the root of child labour. Good Neighbors' community development projects in more than 40 partner countries help children and families at risk get out of the trap. The donations raised from several fundraising offices including Australia are pooled into a project fund, where tailored projects are conducted to resolve the issue at a community level. 

Here at Good Neighbors Australia, we hope that you will join us in celebrating the World Day Against Child Labour. We stand by our belief that every child deserves an education and fulfil their dreams. 

For more information on our community support program, click the icon below!

Interview with Our Good Neighbours

Good Neighbour #2: Roneel Kamiya

Welcome to Interviews with our Good Neighbours, where we will feature stories from our volunteers, donors and staff of Good Neighbors Australia to share the philanthropic spirit and give you a little peek into what goes on behind-the-scenes. This week, our spotlight is on Roneel Kamiya, our  inhouse legal advisor! 

"I enjoy the interaction with Good Neighbor's people and volunteers. They always bring a smile to my face."

- Roneel Kamiya

It's a plane. It's a bird. No, it's Roneel Kamiya! By day, he works in his own law practice. But in his spare time, he volunteers with Good Neighbors Australia and shares his upstanding talent. He has been with us since early February this year, but it certainly feels like he has been part of this family since forever! Read on to see what he has to say:

    GN: What is your favourite part when volunteering with us?

RK: Looking at various legal issues that are or maybe associated with our organisation for now or in the future. To guide my organisation's management team and staff by putting in policies and procedures to enable compliance with the current legislation we operate under.  I enjoy the interaction with Good Neighbor's people and volunteers.  They always bring a smile to my face.

GN: How do you balance your time working in your own legal practice while volunteering with us? What keeps you going? 

RK: I am a good organiser and strict time manager. I set my priorities each day by planning well a night before. So far, I have been able to manage my private practice and my role here efficiently. 

   

GN: I hear that you grew up in Fiji. How was your experience, especially in terms of humanitarian volunteering if possible?

RK: I came to Australia at a very young age and completed all my education in Australia.  On my occasional visits to Fiji, I have noticed some growing issues there, in humanitarian matters.  If an opportunity arises, I will be more than willing to do so, given that I may be able to understand the issues from legal point of view and a bit of local knowledge. It will only serve a common good to our Good Neighbors' mission and goal.

GN: And lastly, who is your favourite super hero? 

RK: Superman, as he can appear anytime when there is a problem and resolve it instantly.

 

Roneel's journey as a lawyer and volunteer legal advisor of Good Neighbors Australia is inspiring to say the least. Thank you Roneel, and stay tuned for our next Good Neighbour feature!

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