PWR | Statement on the Homophobic Massacre of LGBTQI CommunityMembersand Allies in Orlando | 15 June 2016

[Edited extract from public address]

To the friends, families, and neighbors of the victims in Orlando: We, the global community of the Parliament of the World’s Religions, are with you.

We are - without qualification - with you. We grieve with you. We feel anger with you. We love you. Our prayers are with you.

To ourselves:

We must reclaim a global ethic.
At the closing of the 1993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, a foundational declaration was released entitled Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, a document that serves as a moral compass guiding the Parliament’s work. It resolutely prohibits hate, discrimination, and murder on any basis as “irrevocable.”
In the great ancient religious and ethical traditions of humankind we find the directive: You shall not kill! Or in positive terms: Have respect for life! Let us reflect anew on the consequences of this ancient directive: All people have a right to life, safety, and the free development of personality insofar as they do not injure the rights of others. No one has the right physically to torture, injure, much less kill, any other human being. And no people, no state, no race, no religion has the right to hate, to discriminate against, to “cleanse,” to exile, much less to liquidate a “foreign” minority which is different in behavior or holds different beliefs.
- Declaration Toward A Global Ethic: Irrevocable Directives
In no uncertain terms, this “irrevocable directive” overrides any cultural, municipal or religious authorities’ work to enshrine homophobia in laws, lives and hearts.

In its encompassing language, however, The Global Ethic omits any specific language directing the interfaith movement in its relationship to the LGBTQI community.

In 2016, we will address this issue. Moreover, we seek your support and acceptance as we take steps to redress our silence surrounding the injustice of homophobia.  

To the LGBTQI community around the world:

We are sorry.

There is ultra-violent homophobia existing in the world. Brutal, senseless murder speaks loudly. But when the tumult quiets, it is easy to go on treating what happened in Orlando as an isolated, aberrant example of homophobia.

The reality is that an immeasurable degree of homophobia consists of subtle actions and words that are so ingrained in society that they escape notice, accepted in our neighborhoods and protected by our laws, our institutions, and our religions.

We will not ignore the existence of the homophobia that you experience every day. As an interfaith organization, we apologize.

We are sorry for the slow-burning hate that smolders at the heart of our most venerated traditions.

We are sorry for our complicity in allowing homophobia to persist as an “acceptable” form of discrimination, even as we champion justice.

To America:

We must not let this divide us.

It is inexcusable to allow two marginalized minority groups to be pitted against one another. Let us together decry the opportunists in politics and religious extremist groups who have seized this tragedy as an opportunity to strengthen their positions of ill-gotten power.

Take notice and share in the efforts of the Muslim community as they rush to give blood, to provide aid, to denounce these crimes and the ideology behind them, both in Orlando and around the United States.

Listen to the members of the LGBTQI community who have used this unwelcome spotlight to speak against hate of all sorts, especially Islamophobia.

Remember that, no matter where you come from or what community you belong to, hate is hate.

To the religions of the world:

Self-examination is now required.

49 people were murdered and 53 more were wounded in Orlando, USA on Sunday morning (June 12, 2016). This warrants a close look at the way we practice the teachings of our faith traditions. The fact is this; whether subtle or explicit, people of faith - both at the individual and community level - have found ways to justify hate.

These seeds of hate are not “theoretical.” They are factual, and they are ubiquitous. No faith community is exempt.  

You may not have held the gun that extinguished 49 lives from the earth on Sunday morning.

You may have never perpetrated an act of discrimination against someone.

You may even be an active ally.

But collectively, we have all allowed hate to permeate our faith traditions, and the price that we pay is a world where acts of evil frequently erupt.

When we, the peaceful majority, stay silent, we clear the ideologue’s path to extremist violence. Our inaction has made us culpable.

But we are heartened by the outpouring of support from religious leaders and authorities who, in the wake of this mass murder, have committed to take action against the homophobia present in the world and within their own communities. New bonds of solidarity and love have been formed in the last two days; we must continue to build upon these relationships.

To the world:

Let us love one another.

The persecution against LGBTQI communities demands equal priority, attention, reformation, and action, whether homophobia arises in the form of one unstable individual with an assault rifle or the actions and words of a multitude.

Starting now, let us pledge, in each of our spheres of influence, to uphold the irrevocable directive of The Global Ethic.

And, please, love each other.

Parliament of the World's Religions

SBS | Interactive: How diverse is my suburb?

[Edited extract from public address]

Explore the diversity of Australian suburbia online via ancestry, age, food, religion and birthplace data. 

Find out how your suburb ranks against the rest of Australia and which suburbs are the most diverse.

Special Broadcasting Service Corporation (SBS)
Sydney and Melbourne Offices
Phone: 1800 500 727 (toll free)
Post: Locked Bag 028, Crows Nest NSW 1585

CCC | LAUNCH | #CaseyLoveThisCity | Friday 24 June 2016 | 7pm for 7.30pm

[Edited extract from public address]

Join Official launch and information night of #CaseyLoveThisCity campaign.

The 5 Objectives of the campaign:

  1. Love your city - cease vandalising buildings and the infrastructure
  2. Love your city - cease from responding with acts of violence
  3. Love your city - respect and honour levels of authority
  4. Love your city - embrace all peoples from all cultures
  5. Love your city - transition from tolerance to understanding

Where: City Edge Building, 426 Princes Hwy, Narre Warren

RSVP: Friday 17 June 2016 Admin Office

Please feel welcome to share the invitation with others and bring your team.

Casey City Church with former Mayor Shar Balmes, the Goodwill Ambassador
426 Princes Hwy, Narre Warren VIC 3805
Tel: (03) 8790 2917

ASRC | Winter Appeal

[Edited extract from public address]

Donate to our Winter Appeal

90% of people seeking asylum will run out of food this month, and cannot afford to buy more. That's over 20,000 people who will go hungry this month, over 4,000 of these are children.

The ASRC Foodbank is intended for ‘food relief’ but for one third of members, it’s their only source of food. $1 million dollars worth of food will need to be raised this year to feed more than 600 people each week, that’s 25% more than last year.

Additionally, over half of people who access Foodbank have no form of income and live below the poverty line.

Food basket audits tell us that people do not have enough food to last the week, often only enough for two meals a day. At the ASRC alone, we know that around 1,000 of our members are not getting enough food each week.

We urge you this winter, to please support a person to live with dignity.
  • $36 can give one family of 4 enough food for one week
  • $50 can provide enough toilet paper for 2 families for 3 months
  • $130 can give ensure we have enough lentils for 270 families each week
  • $300 ensures we have enough rice for 600 people each week
You can give peace of mind to a family this winter, please donate now.
Donate now

Our first ever Foodbank Recipe Book is now available!

You can now purchase our first ever Foodbank Recipe Book!

It was created in collaboration with members of the ASRC, provides a guide to creating healthy nutritious meals for people seeking asylum, including Potato Rosti and Corn Fritters.

Due to popular demand from the public, we've decided to sell the book and all proceeds go back into supporting our members at the ASRC.

You can buy them online for $15.

Click here to purchase yours

Foods we urgently need for Ramadan!

During Ramadan (from June 7 to July 5), many in our Muslim community fast so they require foods that will give them adequate sustenance and hydration throughout the day.

Foods we especially need during this period include:
  • Dates
  • Mung Bean Dahl
  • Figs
  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc)
  • Ghee
  • Rice Pudding (Firni) from Basmati Rice
We plan to divide these select foods equally among all of our Muslim families who come through our doors.

We are also calling on date sponsorship! Dates are one the best foods to break the fast with and our members are requesting them daily.

If this interests you, you can call Basfoods Brunswick directly on 9381 1444 and they will give you a wholesaler discount and deliver them to us freight free!

Send us an email to find out more

About the ASRC

ASRC is a community-led not for profit organisation that is committed to upholding the human rights of all people seeking asylum. Offering 30 holistic programs that protect people from persecution and destitution, support well-being and dignity, and empower people seeking asylum to advance their own future.

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
214-218 Nicholson Street Footscray Melbourne, VIC 3011 Australia
Tel: 03 9326 6066

SKMI | St Kilda Multicultural IFTAR | Saturday 18 June 2016 | 5-7pm

[Edited extract from public address]

An Invitational to members, friends and family to an Inaugural Interfaith Iftar Dinner in City of Port Phillip.

The Iftar dinner usually is every night during RAMADHAN, following prayers. The Iftar breaking of the fast is more about fasting than feasting. The emphasis is on friendship, simplicity and regard for one’s hungry neighbour. The food will be simple and ceremonial, with the occasion providing ample time for sharing, learning and reconnecting.

Feel welcome to enter and exit respectfully if you are unable to attend the full duration.

Dress: Modestly

Fundraising: Donations on the night will go towards Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project (BASP). A Melbourne-based initiative of the Brigidine Sisters which aims to:
• Provide hospitality and practical support for asylum seekers;
• Actively network with like-minded individuals and groups who are working for justice for asylum seekers;
• Promote advocacy for the rights of asylum seekers;
• Engage in education about asylum seekers’ issues.
The Project works with, and for, asylum seekers both in detention and in the community. Concerned and compassionate women and men across cultures and generations contribute to the work of the Project. Website

Where: Betty Day Community Centre, 67 Argyle Street, St Kilda Vic 3182 Map

Bookings: RSVP 5pm Thursday 16 June. This is an Interfaith event and seating is limited. Please email Carey to book or for more information.

St Kilda Multicultural IFTAR 2016
Mohsin Mohammed (Muslim Community) 0433 133 013
Avraham Schwarz (Jewish Community)
Coralie Ling (Uniting Church Community)
Carey Rohrlach (Buddhist Community) 0438 371 488
Serge Thomann (Deputy Mayor, City of Port Phillip)

In collaboration with City of Port Phillip through Port Phillip Multifaith Network's Journey into Friendship | Sunday 19 June 2016 | 1.30-6.30pm

AEMWSG | Iftar. Share. Talk. Meet. Break Fast | Saturday 25 June 2016 | 5-10pm

[Edited extract from public address]

Experience a traditional Iftar. Share Halal and Vegetarian food. Listen to a talk about why Muslims fast during Ramadan. Meet the neighbors.

Where: Doveton Neighborhood Learning Centre, 34 Oak Avenue, Doveton

Cost: Free

Bookings: Essential RSVP 20 June 2016, Nibal Tel 0435 145 771 or Salwa Tel 0436 807 460

Al-Emaan Muslim Women's Support Group
In collaboration with Doveton Neighborhood Learning Centre

HFH | CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS TO | Rock the House | 22-29 October 2016

[Edited extract from public address]

Habitat for Humanity Australia are calling for 300 volunteers to help build homes and change the lives of 25 families over one week in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Join for a once in a lifetime adventure today.

Habitat for Humanity Australia

TBI | Socially Inclusive Enterprise Addressing Homelessness | 20 years old

[Edited extract from public address]

It is estimated that more than 105,000 people in Australia are technically homeless on any given night. And Australia is supposedly the lucky country.

There are two conventional routes when trying to address social problems:
You can either lobby governments to take greater care of the disadvantaged or donate money to charities and rely on them to catch the people who fall through the cracks. The Big Issue was set up with an entirely different philosophy. At it's core is the concept that business people can use their expertise to help the wider community, and that everybody has the right to a job and to feel valued in their work.
This is the essence of The Big Issue a true social enterprise that provides otherwise socially excluded people with a way of earning a livelihood - and, in doing so, empowers them.
Graeme Wise, founder and former chairman of The Big Issue
The Big Issue is an Australian leading social enterprise. An independent not-for-profit organization delivering developed solutions to help homeless, disadvantaged and marginalized people positively change their lives.

The Big Issue Magazine is published fortnightly and sold on the streets by vendors who purchase copies for $3.50 and sell them for $7, keeping the difference. Subscriptions are also available and provide employment for disadvantaged women as dispatch assistants.

Meanwhile, over the past decade,  The magazine has published cover stories and continues to highlight issues around the theme "The Great Divide" - the growing gulf between rich and poor.

The Big Issue Classroom, since 2009, has had approximately 80,000 students participated in discussions with homeless.

The Big Idea is a program where students learn through lectures, workshops and webinars about Australian social enterprise then compete to create the best social idea and business plan. In times, these ideas might be the next big thing. See

The Big Issue
Steven Persson, Chief Executive Officer
GPO Box 4911, Melbourne Vic 3001
Vendor Support Team (Vic & Tas): Gemma Pidutti Tel 9663 4733

VMC | What we can learn from the refugee experience? | Thursday 23 June 2016 | ​5.30-8pm

[Edited extract from public address]

Engage with this public conversation on social, economic and cultural benefits of humanitarian arrivals in Victoria.

Join Hugh de Kretser, Executive Director of the Human Rights Law Centre, and Helen Kapalos, Chairperson, Victorian Multicultural Commission for this public lecture.

Where: Deakin Edge, Federation Square

Cost: free event in celebration of Refugee Week 2016.

RSVP: bookings essential through EventBrite

Victorian Multicultural Commission

SAABW | Inaugural Event | Empowering Women in Australian Buddhism | Saturday 18 June 2016 | 10am-8pm

[Edited extract from public address]

A day of conversation, talks, workshops and meditation bringing Buddhist women together to share ideas & connect with others.

Public launch of an Australian chapter supporting and promoting well-being of Buddhist nuns and laywomen around the world. “Sakyadhita” means “daughters of the Sakya Clan” – the Buddha’s family. The Australian branch will have national representation and be affiliated with Sakyadhita International.

Sakyadhita International was formed in 1987 in Bodhgaya India under the patronage of HH the Dalai Lama. It seeks to build community to benefit Buddhist women and nuns, to reduce gender injustice and awaken women to their potential. Every two years Sakyadhita International organises a conference where Buddhist nuns and laywomen come together to share issues affecting women and the wider society.

Scheduled Program: includes a panel of speakers on contemporary women’s issues, Q&A session, workshops and meditation with a leading nun.

Where: Buddhist Society of Victoria, 71-73 Darling Rd, East Malvern

Bookings: If wishing to join this new initiative in Australian Buddhism, when booking please advise if you wish to join the dinner; Email:

Sakyadhita Australia Association of Buddhist Women

PWR | Celebrating with Muslim neighbours - Interfaith Ramadan Challenge:

[Edited extract from public address]

Ramadan, the month-long holy season of Islam, is history and custom specific to Islam and inspires reasons for members of other faiths - and people of no faith - to get involved. 

Muslims make up a significant portion of the global community, yet the Islamic holy days have not been accepted and welcomed into our cultural makeup in the same way that holidays like Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, all of which enjoy, to varying degrees, mainstream reverence and acceptance. One of the best (and easiest!) ways to understand the faith traditions of someone different than you is to observe - whether together or from afar - their holidays.

The Parliament of the World’s Religions cultivates harmony among the world’s religious and spiritual communities. Celebrating with our Muslim neighbors and honoring their traditions is a concrete way to cultivate such harmony. Beyond that, the traditions practiced by Muslims during Ramadan hold applications and lessons for people of all faiths.

Here are some ways that you can show solidarity with your Muslim neighbors and commit to the Interfaith Ramadan Challenge:
1. FAST. Just once. Once a week. The entire month.
2. PRAY OR MEDITATE in your own tradition five times a day. Include a prayer for peace and mutual understanding.
3. BREAK THE FAST with your Muslim neighbours and attend an Interfaith IFTAR
4. SHARE your experience of embodied Solidarity at Ramadan on social media with family friends and networks.

Pledge involvement in Interfaith Ramadan Challenge

Have a surplus? Make a donation to support the PWR and its activities online.

*Ramadan 2016 will begin on Sunday, June 5 where there is visibility of the moon in Hawaii and the Polynesian islands. Most Western, Arabic, Asian and European countries will begin June 6 or 7, and a few regions on June 8.

Parliament of the World's Religions
70 East Lake Street, Suite 205, Chicago, IL 60601
Tel: 312-629-2990

FIN | Iftar Dinner | Spirituality Talk | Sunday 3 July 2016 | 4.30pm

[Edited extract from public address]

Enjoy a friendly, light meal and find out more about the symbols and rituals of the Iftar dinner that traditionally breaks the day’s fast for Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan.

Guest speakers will talk on the significance and celebration of Ramadan, there will be a traditional Muslim ‘Call to Prayer’ as well as praying of the sunset prayers.

The meal will include a vegetarian option and time to talk informally with a Muslim community member at each table.

Where: High Street Uniting Church, 16-18 High St,  Frankston, VIC | Melways 100A,A9

Cost: $10 adult, $30 family, $5 student/pensioner/concession (limited tickets)

Bookings: by 27 June 2016
Frankston Visitor Information Centre
Tel: 1300 322 842

In partnership with Ahmadiyya Muslim community and High St Uniting Church,
The Frankston Interfaith Network
Tel: 03 9784 1851

Proudly supported by Frankston City Council and State Government Victoria.

THF | Strong Spirit • Strong Culture • Strong People

[Edited extract from public address]

Helping Indigenous people to heal by connecting back to culture, philosophy and spirit.

The Healing Foundation is a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation with a focus on building culturally strong, community led healing solutions. Supporting organisations around the country to design and deliver healing programs that work for their communities.

Together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities:
-- work with members of the Stolen Generations to create their own healing responses
-- support children and young people and their families to improve their social and emotional wellbeing
-- build leadership and capacity of communities and workers to respond to trauma through education and training
-- develop evidence base for best practice Indigenous healing, and
-- share our knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander healing with communities, government and non-government organisations around Australia

Governed by an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander board, with strong connections to the community and a dynamic mix of experience.

The Foundation's main office is in Canberra, with staff members working around the country.

Want to find out more? Download our Strategic Plan or read up on healing history.

Have a surplus and wish to Donate?

The Healing Foundation
Tel: (02) 6272 7500
Mail: PO Box 4363, Kingston ACT 2604

MCRP | Celebrate World Ocean's Day & Help Clean-Up Ricketts Point | Wednesday 8 June 2016 | 11am start

[Edited extract from public address]

Come along for a beach clean up at Ricketts Point and then a delicious hot drink to warm up and be social afterwards!

Bring your own T-shirts, buckets, gloves and bags. Stay for post-event Tea/Coffee/Hot Chocolate afterwards.

Bookings: If you would like to book in please see LINK
Otherwise, you are welcome to just turn up.​

Where: Beachside, Beaumaris Life Saving Club

Feel free to forward on to others, and bring your friends and family for this wonderful environmental event to preserve this beautiful sanctuary!​

Marine Care Ricketts Point Committee
Virginia Mosk
M: 0408 800 685

ICM | REFUGEE WEEK | Act for Peace, Eat Like A Refugee | Ration Challenge | 19-26 June 2016

[Edited extract from public address]

Take the Act for Peace Ration Challenge and show refugees we are with them, not against them. 

Eat the same rations as a Syrian refugee (just a small amount of rice, beans, lentils, fish, oil and flour) during Refugee Week, 19-25 June 2016 and raise money to provide refugees with the food, medicine and support they need to survive.

Less than 1,000 Packs remaining so sign up now to guarantee your place in the challenge!
So far, as at 30 May, website notes $551,929 had been pledged, enough to feed 1,978 Syrian Refugees for a year.

Sign up

The Interfaith Centre of Melbourne
PO Box 18355
Collins Street East Melbourne Vic 3000 Australia
Tel: (03) 9650 7163

In collaboration with different religious and spiritual communities.

KHT | INVITATION TO SUPPORT | Ngoon Godgin* Appeal

[Edited extract from public address]

Sharing of insight into how powerful contemporary art can be and how it can affect people's lives and the way we see the world.

The Koorie Heritage Trust provides a unique environment rich in culture, heritage and history which welcomes and encourages aboriginal and non-aboriginal people to come together in the spirit of learning and reconciliation.

The Koorie Heritage Trust has a range of activities those with a surplus can support:
-- Assisting members of The Stolen Generations to connect with the genealogical heritage through Koorie Family History Service
-- Recording oral histories and preserving stories for generations to come through  Oral History Program
-- Supporting the work of emerging and established artists by presenting a range of Gallery Exhibitions through Exhibitions and Public Programs
-- Acquiring new art and artefacts for Collections

Support: Those wishing to support the spirit, purpose and programs are invited to make donations online or ask about being a member of the Moogji Club**

Koorie Heritage Trust
Cnr Swanston St and Flinders St, Federation Square, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Naomi Velaphi - Public Programs Coordinator
Tel: 8662 6336

* Ngoon Godgin: Woiwurrung = Thank You
** Moogji: Gunditjmara = Special Friend

KHT | Light in Winter Federation Square | June

[Edited extract from public address]

During the month of June Koorie Heritage Trust will be presenting a range of events as a part of the Light in Winter program at Fed Sqaure!

Taking place around the Leempeeyt Weeyn’ (Indigenous Campfire) as part of Fed Square’s The Light in Winter program:

Indigenous Language Workshops | Tuesdays 7 & 14 June | 6-7pm

The Koorie Heritage Trust and Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages present a series of language workshops around the campfire. Featuring language experts Mandy Nicholson (Wurundjeri) and Fay Stewart-Muir (Boonwurrung) together they will share the Woiwurrung and Boonwurrung languages. Join us for an insight into Aboriginal languages and the importance of keeping words alive that have been used but their ancestors.
Cost: Free
Where: Federation Square, Main Square, Campfire

Poetry Readings: A tribute to Lisa Bellear | Wednesday 15 June | 6-7pm

Coinciding with the exhibition Close To You: The Lisa Bellear Picture Show join us for an evening of poetry from Bellear's poems by friends and fans around Leempeeyt Weeyn’.  A Minjungbul woman from Goernpil, Stradbroke Island with South Sea ancestry Bellear was primarily based in Melbourne pursuing her varied interests as an Indigenous activist, photographer, broadcaster, poet, feminist, academic and performer who was widely admired within the Australian Indigenous community.
Cost: Free
Where: Federation Square, Main Square, Campfire

June Winter Solstice

On the evening of Fed Square's much-loved Solstice Celebration as part of the Light in Winter Festival we will be bringing the Koorie Heritage Trust forecourt to life with conversations by the fire with our cultural educators. Pop in to check out our shop and exhibition on level 1, and upstairs experience a taste of Bushtukka with Cassie Leatham.

Baabapul kwii-ap - A taste of Bushtukka | Saturday 18 June | 3 sessions | 5.30pm, 6.30pm & 7.30pm

Grab a taste of some Bushtukka with artist Cassie Leatham-Harrup (Taungurung and Wurundjeri). In a short and intimate experience Cassie shares knowledge and bush food recipes with you on a tasting journey round our canoe table here at the Koorie Heritage Trust.  Learn about native plants, how to grow, process, cook and eat them! There is limited capacity so book in now!
Cost: $16.50
Bookings: Essential. BOOK HERE
Where: Level 3 Yarra Building, Federation Square

Koorie Heritage Trust
Cnr Swanston St and Flinders St, Federation Square, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Naomi Velaphi - Public Programs Coordinator
Tel: 8662 6336

KHT | Exhibition | Close to You: The Lisa Bellear Picture Show | 21 May - 17 July

[Edited extract from public address]

Paying tribute to the life and work of Lisa Bellear, coinciding with the 10th anniversary of her passing in 2006.

Curated by close friends, artists Destiny Deacon and Virginia Fraser and cousin Kim Kruger, this exhibition showcases a selection from Bellear’s photographic collection, held by the Koorie Heritage Trust through which she documented over a quarter of a century of Indigenous community life including marches celebrations, portraits, signs and graffiti, and personal photographs. By 2006 she had created a collection of over 30,000 images, mostly of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Cost: Free

Where: Level 1 Gallery, Yarra Building, Federation Square

Koorie Heritage Trust
Cnr Swanston St and Flinders St, Federation Square, Melbourne Victoria 3000
Naomi Velaphi - Public Programs Coordinator
Tel: 8662 6336

NR | REPORT | Nepal Earthquake: One year on...

[Edited extract from public address]

All the volunteers and founders had an enthusiasm to help that worked as life-saving help and inspiration to many. 

People of Nepal and all over the world, sorrowfully marked 24 and 25 April 2015, one year on from the gravely devastating Gorkha earthquake. Lives of nearly 9,000 people were lost, wiped-out villages and millions left homeless.

One year after the earthquake, all the Nepalese are trying to heal and get their lives back to how it was before. But, when we look back at the struggles people are facing, it hasn’t been so easy for most. A year went by hearing heartbreaking stories of how survivors have been continuing their lives and livelihood, embracing their loss and pain, and moving on.

Nepal Rises, a registered Not for Profit, was formed just after the earthquake as a volunteering coordination platform. We were able to impact lives of more than 3500 people by providing relief, basic needs like food, tarpaulins for shelter, water purification materials and medicines, since the second day after the earthquake, by mobilizing 562 volunteers.

After the relief phase was over, for some months, Nepal Rises helped in building 14 TLCs in schools and water purification systems in partnership with other organizations which got more than 1200 children back to their schools. It also helped to retain about 110 teachers by providing them shelters. 18 SLC appearing students were provided with solar lamps so that they did not have to compromise their future due to the earthquake. Nepal Rises also helped to build temporary shelters for families who had lost their homes and provided water filters to families which benefited 1005 people for 1.5 years.

Nepal Rises is still constantly working on the ground to provide children with safe permanent infrastructure of schools and ensure their rights to education and protection. Your generous donations and support has helped us make efforts to provide water and sanitation to people, get children back to the school, for them to have a brighter future and build shelters that is providing security to them. It wouldn’t be possible without our partners, advisors and supporters.

Though disheartened by the loss, we are striving to rebuild hope for a better future for Nepal and its people.

To read more on what is the present condition of the people of Nepal after the earthquake, visit:

Nepal Rises

GOVV | MAV | Emerge in the West is back | Saturday 4 June 2016 | 1-6pm

[Edited extract from public address]

Half-day festival featuring some of the West’s top emerging talent in music, art, fashion, dance and spoken word across three stages.

This year’s event is also set to include an expanded art and craft market area featuring a host of special offers from local and artisan traders on the day.

Aboriginal didgeridoo collaborators with African Star Dance & Drumming, alongside Hakka by Te Whare Tutaua O Te Hononga Ki Wikitoria will open the 2016 Festival. On Nicholson Street, the main stage this year will feature the iconic voice of Ajak Kwai with Abyei Sudanese Band, a new Majestic Vietnamese band and dance group, afro beats by Alariiya, the Eritrean Snit Band, reggae and roots by Rasta Unity, dynamic percussion and dance by Asanti Dance Theatre, and an impressive finale featuring Melbourne’s inimitable Ethio-jazz maestros JAzmaris alongside Nhatty Man and his new band Gara, Seble Girma and the iconic Bitsat Seyoum.

The main stage acts will alternate with the street’s second stage featuring an Afro Chic Fashion Show, Kids’ traditional African dance performance, Ba’hal Ethiopian traditional dance and workshops, and new talent in “All You Can Spit” Youth MC Project. In addition to these interactive performances and dance workshops, the street will be filled with art and craft stalls offering a range of craft activities, kids’ tribal jewellery workshops and face painting for kids. This year audiences are also invited to win a trophy in a pool competition at Welwalo CafĂ©.

Art and craft experiences will continue inside Victoria University’s iconic MetroWest venue that is located in the middle of Nicholson Street. VU at MetroWest will host weaving demonstrations from 1pm to 5pm by PNG Bilum artist Vicki Kinnai, a textile exhibition, a special afternoon of spoken word and jazz with local musicians, Soreti Kadir and “Words on the West” poets, a pop up shop of local fashion, jewellery and accessories in an Afro Chic Boutique coordinated by Vissolela Ndenzako.

A Winter Craft Market of handmade treasures by “Creating a Welcome” program by Anna Branford. Every item has been made by a creator keen to use crafty skills to support those seeking asylum in Australia and includes knitted and crocheted winter woollies, soft toys and dolls, prints, jewellery and much more, with every cent raised to be donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.

Building on insights and new traders in Footscray, AASBA representative Berhan Jabar with MAV Creative Producer and Founder of the Emerge Festivals Anita Larkin will lead two guided Cultural Walking Tours to the local traders spanning rare textiles, unique Ethiopian pool, original African hair art and popular local Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurants and more.

Where: Nicholson St, Footscray

Cost: FREE

Multicultural Arts Victoria in partnership with Maribyrnong City Council Festival City Program

TBI | Sacred Music Concert | Sunday 26 June 2016 | 2.30pm

[Edited extract from public address]

An Interfaith Celebration

Scheduled Program:

  • Indigenous welcome to country
  • Leonard Bernstein Chichester Psalms
  • Ralph Vaughan Williams - Benedicite
  • Canterbury Anglican Church Choir
  • Camarata Orchestra under the baton of Douglas Heywood OAM
  • Camberwell Chorale
  • TBI, LBC, Etz Chayim choirs
  • Tudor Choristers

Where: Temple Beth Israel, 76 - 82 Alma Road St Kilda  Melbourne, Victoria 3182

Cost: $40 adult, $35 conc, $10 children under 18 years

Bookings: Online through Trybooking, click here

Temple Beth Israel
Fiona Zlotnik
Tel: 03 9510 1488

Supported by the Progressive Jewish Cultural Fund, Victorian Multicultural Commission, Gandel Philanthropy

CFF | Inaugural Schools Campaign | April 2016

[Edited extract from public address]

First pilot schools campaign invitational to 100 schools in Victoria to attend one of three student leadership summits

During the last five years, the Cathy Freeman Foundation has experienced increasing enquiries from schools seeking to support an Indigenous organisation that is making a positive impact.

The 3 summits were Melbourne Bayside session for secondary and primary schools, and a metropolitan summit for secondary schools.

In total over 65 schools and more than 200 school leaders attended the interactive workshops designed to:

  • Enlighten young Australian leaders about life in a remote Indigenous community;
  • Inform students about the education gap that exists in Australia;
  • Inspire school leaders and provide fun and easy resources to involve their school community in making a positive difference for 1600 Indigenous children currently participating in Foundation programs.
“By getting behind the Cathy Freeman Foundation we can really make a huge difference to Indigenous education, something that is so important. Ultimately, I think students will feel a connection due to the Foundation raising funds for schools and students just like them and will really want to make a difference.”
Bianca Pardo, Year 12 student and school leader at McKinnon Secondary College
Founder and Director of the Foundation, Cathy Freeman said, “It was wonderful to meet so many inspiring young leaders committed to support educational opportunities for their peers in Indigenous communities. We hope they now feel empowered to reach out to their friends, families and other networks to join them in their fundraising initiatives.”

If you would like to know more about the Schools Campaign
or would like your school to participate, please contact
Luke Tel: 03 9686 4813
Email: or download the free fundraising resources kit from

GOVV | VMC | Recruit Smarter | Recruitment-bias initiative | 18 Months

[Edited extract from public address]

Creating a level playing field for those applying for work.

The Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC) introduces Recruit Smarter. An 18-month pilot program aiming to reduce any potential bias during recruitment. Encouraging candidates to get the best opportunities regardless of their background. Benefitting employers by getting a more diverse and balanced workplace, expecting to result in an improved bottom line.

Providing assistance to candidates from non-English speaking backgrounds, the VMC welcomes the investment of $200,000 to NGOs and private sector to provide training to address hiring biases.

VMC Chairperson Ms Helen Kapalos said the initiative aimed to effect significant change to ensure diversity is at the heart of the recruitment process.

‘Raising awareness in both the government and private sector as well as developing the training and tools that will change the way we do business across the board. This is an important step towards social equality; an important step for multiculturalism,’ she said.

‘The “fair go” ethos sits at the core of the multicultural philosophy. Addressing hiring bias will ensure Victorians receive the same opportunities regardless of culture, gender or age,’ said Ms Kapalos.

Read full article

Victorian Government
Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC)

CFF | INVITATION TO SUPPORT | Improving Indigenous Educational and Life Prospects

[Edited extract from public address]

Driving positive outcomes in attendance, literacy and behaviour for 1600 Indigenous children.

Check out Newsletter: To download a full copy of the May Newsletter please click here.

Support: send an email to cheer us on, subscribe to newsletter, donate Online

Cathy Freeman Foundation
PO Box 567
Melbourne VIC 3205
Tel: 03 9686 4813

GEIFN | Media Mix | June

Approx 5 min reads

Greg Baum shares Becky Carlson's education, lead position and personal experience when advising "How not to get a sports scholarship" via The Age

Michael Harry interviews one artist with diversified interests, expressive living, sharing "Singersongwriter Lior on religion, Giggle and Hoot and his new career - as an actor" via The Age

Frank Bruni explores unknown undercurrents of the information stream, known exploitations, self-responsibility and unintended social consequences when stating "Don't blame Facebook" via The Canberra Times

Ade Djajamihardja explores useful conditions for a stroke, timely medical intervention, rehabilitating prospects when revealing "How Ade Djajamihardja works on his recovery from stroke" via The Brisbane Times

Emma Quayle explores connections with remote disadvantage, valuing kindness, knowing who to reach out to, in-course corrections and the many little steps that make a journey, when "Bomber Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti's long journey to overnight success" via The Brisbane Times

Sonia Harford shines a light on an interactive program connecting hearts and winning smiles "Museum of Me: Darebin Council art project teams the elderly with primary schoolers" via The Sydney Morning Herald

Tyler De Nawi shares his experience, skilfulness to overcome industry-bias, intelligence and Humour, declaring "Why actor Tyler De Nawi changed his name from Mustafa, and why he wishes he hadn't needed to" via The Age

Sonia Harford explores existing inherent gender bias in Australian political representation, enabling positive change and "The Harvard plan to get more women into power" via The Brisbane Times

Andrew Stephens explores identity, gender and movement when "Paul Capsis plays Quentin Crisp, the hero who showed 'there were men like me'" via The Age

Alana Schetzer writes of unintended consequences for unsupportive mental illness when "Desperate mentally ill see committing crimes as their best chance to get treatment" via The Age

Michael Short explores field-tested proven solutions for society's addressing those affected with "No place like home" via The Canberra Times

Julie Power relates how passage of time and skilful determination by a few has revealed "Roman trash is today's treasure: Israeli divers find 1600-year-old ancient cargo saved by shipwreck" via The Age

Michael Koziol reports how an organisation's consultative representation decided to send signals of inclusiveness, fairness and equality when "Victorian Country Women's Association votes to support marriage equality" via WA Today

John Elder explores an example of an origin story for celebrating women, mothers and goddesses as "Mother's Day explained: The cards, the flowers - the myths, the motivations" via The Canberra Times

Waleed Aly compares examples of divisive vs inclusive politics, prejudice and subjective valuing of diversity as "Who's in, who's out: Trump's version of modern society" via The Brisbane Times

Simon Johanson explores a business partnership with a noble aspiration as "JLL teams up with indigenous business in property services" via The Canberra Times

Helen Chryssides interviews Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi who describe their vision, team spirit and realising efforts cleansing attitudes towards homelessness in "Two of us: Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi" via The Age

Martin Flanagan assays positive role-modeling, fearlessness to change strategies in the face of certain defeat, rapidly transforming practices and other equalising qualities of re:lig:ion, when sharing "The joy of the patched-up Bombers" via The Sydney Morning Herald

Annabel Ross explores how sound, message and meaning combines in "Deaf Can Dance: The Delta Project combines hearing and non-hearing dancers in Under My Skin" via WA Today

Martin Flanagan reveals a workplace setting a public example of how to embrace diversity, sharing personal story, common place, timely journey and getting along for longevity, asking "'Why didn't we learn this at school?' Melbourne footballer taught teammates Indigenous heritage" via The Age

Farah Tomazin writes of welcoming attitudes towards acknowledging, embracing and supporting diversity as "Gayby Baby schools to get a lesson in family diversity" via The Age

Approx 20min presentations

Louie Schwartzberg: Hidden miracles of the natural world

Daniel Reisel: The neuroscience of restorative justice

Alastair Parvin: Architecture for the people by the people

Approx 5 min presentation

Stromae - Peace Or Violence

Approx 2 min presentation

Sesame Street's Abby with Kat Dennings -  Repair

Approx 4 min presentation

Brian Cox via BBC's Wonders of the Universe - Mind-blowing Ancient Solar Calender