It’s so inspiring when you get to meet someone who’s passionate about the same things in life as you and today I got to do just that. At the start of this year, I arrived back in Australia after three months travelling and volunteering in South East Asia with a Christian NGO called Destiny Rescue who work in rescuing young girls and women from sex-trafficking, while aiming to end child slavery in our lifetime.
The person who I met up with was Destiny Rescue marketing manager Tony Cunningham, to discuss how (as a writer) I can contribute to Destiny Rescue’s publicity and help get them known in the wider community. I have now made the decision to volunteer some of my time to write press releases and good news stories about the awesome work Destiny Rescue is doing as well as working on some multimedia marketing strategies for them. Because I’m so passionate, I’m also considering becoming an advocate and volunteer speaker for Destiny Rescue so I can share what they’re doing with people like you!
While what I experienced overseas was incredibly eye opening, heart wrenching and uplifting (all at the same time), I now feel compelled and encouraged to raise awareness and have conversations with people about human trafficking. Ultimately, we need to face the fact that slavery is real and that there are more slaves today than any other time in history. But with that said, there is something we can all do if we want to see an end to it.
Since coming back, I have not only felt convicted about keeping in touch with Destiny Rescue staff and volunteers, but rather to continue in partnering with them now that I have seen for myself how they are empowering these young girls by giving them a hope and a future. In a sense, I feel responsible for getting the word out there, hence why I have chosen to be actively involved in becoming a ‘voice for the voiceless’.
As Destiny Rescue is a volunteer based organisation, 100 per-cent of child sponsorship funds are sent directly overseas to help children within the programs, with all additional fundraising done in Australia. It’s everyday people like you and me that can get involved and make a difference so, what are you waiting for?
In the upcoming weeks and months, Destiny Rescue has some fantastic events which I encourage you to support and get yourself (and a few friends) along to.
On the 7th and 8th of September, Destiny Rescue will be teaming up with Chant4Change, a charity benefit concert, combining music, acting and dancing in order to raise funds towards rescuing children from sexual slavery and ultimately create CHANGE.
This will be held at Lake Kawana Community Centre on the Sunshine Coast and is bound to be a fantastic night of entertainment (I’m certainly hoping to get along). For more information and to purchase tickets, check out their website and ‘like’ them on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/Chant-for-Change
But personally, what I’m looking forward to the most is the much anticipated release of Street Dreams, a documentary directed by Jason Bray which aims to expose the dark world of human trafficking and child prostitution, while seeking out the heroes behind the tales of hope and rescue of these enslaved victims (see trailer below).
The documentary premieres Australia wide on August 17 and features Destiny Rescue and the work they are doing in Thailand.
For those who are keen to see the premiere in Brisbane, it will be showing Friday 17 August, 7.30pm at Tribal Theatre (346 George Street). To purchase tickets or for more information about Street Dreams screening dates visit Red Earth Film Productions.
I peeled back the skin of the banana. While the top was slightly bruised, I broke it off easily and threw it away. Then I took my first bite. It was just how I remembered bananas tasting – sweet and delicious. It reminded me how good banana smoothies were on a hot summers day. Not only that, but it also reminded me how much I used to eat bananas back home before the price rose to $14 a kilo (after cyclone Yasi tore its way through North Queensland where many of the banana crops are).
I used to make banana cakes with cream cheese frosting, eat bananas with my cereal and even with ice cream for dessert. Who would have thought a person could be so obsessed over one kind of fruit? All I knew was that I would have to make the most of it while I was here. A bunch of bananas in Thailand cost as little as 5 baht (about 16 cents) and the reality was that once I returned to Australia, bananas could still be about $7 a kilo – too expensive to have with breakfast every morning.
The house I stayed at in Chiang Saen was on the edge of a river surrounded by various fruit trees and chilli bushes. Every time I stared at the river I would feel an overwhelming sense of peace and when a slight breeze blew, the current would reveal itself and small ripples would form on the surface. Other days the river was calm and the only ripples visible would be when the occasional fish jumped. But one of the most spectacular moments was an incredible sunset I experienced. As I sat on the verandah and watched the sun go down, I was mesmerised by the colours that danced across the night sky. I had finally learnt to enjoy one of the many simple things in life.
During the day as we drove through villages and passed countless numbers of houses and schools, it occurred to me that many people had probably never travelled before. Most may have never ventured further than their own village or nearest city, let alone overseas. While some of Thailand’s population is quite well off, many are poor and work tireless days and hours as farmers under the scorching sun. Looking back on my experiences so far, it made me think that being a tuk tuk driver may not be such a bad job after all…
When I saw people working on farms or selling their goods at the market, I often wondered whether they were people who had dreams? Dreams of a better life, a life that didn’t involve working in the sun or having the same routine day after day. Then again, how many of us in the west follow the same routine on a daily basis? We wake up, we go to work, we come home and we go to sleep. It really got me thinking… Do we ever take time to stop, rest and treasure the simple things in life?
And while I’m sure some of these people do have dreams, many of them try to wash them away or toss them aside knowing such an idea is close to impossible. We often say in the west that if you’re not happy with what you do, then change it. And we are fortunate enough to quit our jobs and move on to something that brings us joy and fulfillment. But for the Thai people this is rarely an option and sadly for many it never will be. So let me ask you this. What is your dream?
“Dreams are free, so free your dreams.”- Astrid Alauda