[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!

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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!

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 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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Giving back to the community with Nongshim 

Australian community support campaign

Instant noodles are a comfort food to many. It’s cheap, easy to prepare, and tastes absolutely scrumptious. In times like this, home foods can definitely take our minds off the economy and COVID-19 situation. In a sense, instant ramen was our hero--no doubt it has been a lifesaver in the face of hangovers, late-night cravings and many more.

Nongshim is the South Korean food company behind the lovable food we all know today—Shin Ramyun. You know, the original instant ramen that has blessed the stomachs of the millions of people who have tried it. They are also the creators of Chapagetti, which was used to cook the famous dish of Ram-don, from the movie Parasite. Nongshim and its instant noodle lines have come a long way in spreading the love for Korean food, from restaurant meal collabs to becoming a university student’s staple. But this time, in light of the COVID-19 epidemic, they want to give back to the community by sharing the comforts of Nongshim’s instant noodles with those in need. 

Armed with a few hundred packs of instant ramen, Nongshim partnered with Good Neighbors Australia and distributed over five hundred hampers - otherwise known as ‘Care Kits - to the Sydney community. Each one is packed with basic necessities, such as hand soaps, face masks, and most importantly: instant noodles! Nongshim’s ramen and noodles are a simple but delicious meal, and will definitely warm peoples’ hearts in these troubling times. From 18th of April to mid-May, volunteers and staff of Good Neighbors Australia drove to Auburn, Smithfield, Fairfield, Dundas Valley and more, where the hampers were delivered to refugee groups, survivors of domestic abuse, as well as single parents. Nongshim and Good Neighbors Australia hope that this package will help spread hope in these times of distress. 

We all understand the trying times we are living in right now. But contrary to comic books, Superman has not come to our rescue. Rather, we are our own heroes. We live in a caring community, where neighbours help each other out--and this bond is as strong as any hero's superpower. 

With the power of compassion and instant ramen, Good Neighbors Australia is keen to help Nongshim give back to the community.

Source: www.nongshim.com.au

 Giving back to the community has never tasted so good.

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Our response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

For around 30 years, Good Neighbors has served its mission to make good changes for the world.

In this time of crisis, there is no exception for our neighbours in Australia. 

 

About a month ago, Good Neighbors Australia launched a domestic project to support our neighbours in need. This is a summary of what we've done for our neighbourhood. 

We've teamed up a set of corporate partners ranging from food suppliers, health supplement business and freight forwarding company to respond to the needs of our communities.

Our focus remains for those left most vulnerable and forgotten in Australia who are significantly affected by the crisis.

As of 5 May, Good Neighbors Australia has reached out to, but not limited to: 

  • Single parents group based in Dundas Valley and surrounding areas 
  • Refugees & Asylum seekers based in Smithfield and surrounding areas 
  • International students with Vietnamese/Indonesian heritage 
  • Grandparents families 
  • temporary visa holders going through financial hardships

 

In the following weeks, we will head to domestic violence victims and single mothers in western sydney region. Our work still continues while our items last. We will keep you updated the details via website and social media channels. 

 

(To ensure the privacy and safety of beneficiariesm, Disclosure of pictures were only made with consents.) 

 

 

We are all in this together

Charity begins at home 

Australian community support campaign

We are currently still in the midst of social distancing, and most of us are restricted to staying in our home. But though the majority of us are wallowing in boredom, there are those that are not as fortunate. Single parents, socially isolated elderly, refugee groups, and temporary visa holders. These groups are facing significant financial hardship due to the current economic situation, but they have missed out on receiving government aid.

That's why, to help alleviate the burdens during these testing times, Good Neighbors Australia is launching a new domestic campaign. Its mission? To distribute hampers to those in need. The hampers will each contain food supplies including instant noodles and other basic necessities like hand soaps. 

Good Neighbors Australia has partnered with Daesang, Nongshim, Kago Australia and Rainbow and Nature to create this campaign. Daesang and Nongshim are two of South Korea's largest food companies and have generously donated five hundred boxes worth of food supplies, including mouth-watering instant noodles. Meanwhile, Kago Australia and Rainbow and Nature are also generous businesses, and are the force behind the warehousing and hand soaps.

Good Neighbors Australia is prioritising single-parents, families with children, temporary Australian visa holders, and anyone who is not eligible for government support. Due to limitations, this campaign is currently only set to operate within the Sydney region. For any queries, or if you want to assist us in this campaign, please feel free to contact us via email at goodneighborsau@gmail.com.

 

More information about the campaign can also be found on our campagin page. 

Stay strong Sydney! 

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Combating COVID-19 in Another Part of the World

COVID-19—the mere mention of this infamous virus elicits unwarranted responses of unease. With the first reported signs of the coronavirus dating all the way back to November 2019, no one could have guessed that five months later it would have spread across the world and caused absolute mayhem. But although global media appears to be reporting on COVID-19 cases as a whole, little focus has been directed towards smaller nations. Take the Samoan and Fiji islands for example. These are just two of many countries in the Pacific that do not have the adequate health systems in place to combat the novel coronavirus. What’s more, countries such as Haiti, Chad and South Sudan—where Good Neighbors has branches and launches community development projects (CDP) in—as well as many more are cited to be more likely to be exposed to epidemics due to issues arising when accessing healthcare.  

 

Having adequate access to healthcare is crucial to both treating and preventing the spread of the coronavirus. That’s why all 43 partners of Good Neighbors are dedicated to helping those in need during these condemning times. The Good Neighbors team in Bangladesh have been disinfecting buses, while personal protective equipment was distributed to those in need in South Korea, and all the way down under Good Neighbors Australia is looking for a way to help those who financially affected by Coronavirus outbreak.  

 

However, it should be noted that this is not the first time poorer countries have struggled in the face of epidemics and pandemics. The measles outbreak in Samoa, and Papua New Guinea saw cases of polio resurface. A huge factor behind least-developed nations frequently encountering health-related concerns is poverty. Communities in these less privileged countries often lack the education and resources, so when an epidemic occurs, they do not have the knowledge nor the capacity to address it.

That’s why on top of assisting with preventative measures specifically tailored to combat COVID-19, Good Neighbors also remains dedicated to the wellbeing of these less-advantaged communities. The Community Development Projects (CDPs) are part of Good Neighbors’ ongoing commitment to eliminating poverty and increasing education, especially for children. These CDPs are part of the Support a Community Program, and this is 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 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.

Stay healthy--we'll all get through this! 

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