Lets fill this container to the brim!

Sierra-Leone-Children-eatingMy friend Jane, founded an Australian charity to help orphans and at risk kids in Sierra Leone.  It is called The Fig Tree Children, and so far, Jane has raised enough money to feed, clothe and send 40 children to school.

The Fig Tree Children run in partnership with a local primary school which is soon to become a secondary school. Locals built the school, and now have over 200 children from the most poverty stricken area of Sierra Leone attending the school. Many families cant afford to attend their children to school, and Jane works hard to find Australian sponsors to pay their school fees. Get in contact with Jane if you would like to sponsor a child.

Next week, in partnership with Bikes For Life, Jane is sending a shipping container over to Sierra Leone, and she is urgently seeking donations of the below items for the school, new or pre-loved: 

  • childrens books – all ages
  • text books, any year level
  • exercise books, writing (lined/unlined) books (anything)
  • paper
  • geometry sets
  • pens, pencils, colouring crayons, glue, scissors, paints,
  • children’s toys or games

TheFigTreeChildrenJane needs these items by next week, Tuesday 6th September.  You can post / or drop off all items to: 26 Nankin Street, Fig Tree Pocket QLD 4069

Or if you would like to make a tax deductible cash donation to buy these items, you can donate online here, or bank details below:
Account name: The Fig Tree Children
BSB: 084 255    Account: 74 304 6763
Ref: First and last name

Jane is also trying to source non-electric sewing machines, fabrics and cottons. The fabrics and cottons are to make re-usable sanitary pads with Freeda Thong from EcoPads, there is a sewing-bee happening in Brisbane this weekend if you would like to help – they are hoping to make 300 sets.  Learn more about Eco Pads here.

Email Jane if you would like to get involved in any way! Or visit The Fig Tree Children website for more information.

Jane is also hosting a charity movie night for Bridget Jones’ Baby on Monday 19th September at The Blueroom Cinebar, in Rosalie Village, Brisbane. Tickets are $25  and includes the movie, a glass of bubbles and a $10 donation to The Fig Tree Children.

Book your ticket here: https://www.trybooking.com/LLSB

Posted in Bikes 4 Life, Causes, Children, Pay it forward, Uncategorized, youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Elephants for Education

IMG_2209Cambodian charity Human and Hope Association Inc have launched a crowd funding campaign called Elephants for Education selling hand-made toy elephants to fund education for kids in Cambodia.

The organisation, which recently celebrated becoming entirely locally run, aims to empower Cambodians to create sustainable futures for themselves through education, vocational training and community support.

Some of the programs offered by Human and Hope Association include English classes, art classes and preschool. Another program, which has been extremely successful, is the sewing project where women from disadvantaged backgrounds can complete a 10 month course to learn sewing and business skills.

IMG_1741This program is where Saney (pictured) learnt the skills that would enable her to start her own business. She also receives an income by making some of toy elephants for the Elephants for Education scheme.

Sally Hetherington, who has worked at Human and Hope Association for 4 years, says the campaign is crucial to funding the organisations ongoing running costs.

“HHA is achieving such great things, and this wouldn’t be possible without our generous supporters. Each and every donation makes such a huge impact and allows the committed local team to continue their great work.”

Sally is also excited that the campaign coincides with the release of Human and Hope’s adorable range of stuffed elephants.

“Not only is each elephant super cute, but each one has their own name. For example, Bopha can provide a whole month’s English education to a child” Sally says.

The campaign aims to raise $15,000 by August 25th. Buy an elephant today or make a donation on the campaign page: https://www.chuffed.org/project/elephantsforeducation


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanAndHopeAssociation/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/humanandhope/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HumanandHope

Or email Sally Hetherington – President for more information.



Posted in Australian charity, Children, Uncategorized, youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GLAM It Up For Charity supporting Orange Sky Laundry #GLAM16

My annual charity dinner GLAM It Up For Charity is on again!  A little charity dinner I started when I was on maternity leave with my son, who is now TEN YEARS OLD!

I never imagined this little dinner would still be going strong ten years on, raising almost $70,000 for local and grass roots charities.  I credit the support of many beautiful (and generous) friends, kind businesses, and a patient husband to its success.

Last year’s charity beneficiary was Hummingbird House and together we raised them an amazing $18,125!

This year’s charity is Orange Sky Laundry who provide a free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness. Founded by best mates Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett (and 2016 Young Australians of the Year), who in 2014, had a “crazy idea” to put two washing machines and two dryers in a van and wash and dry clothes for free. Starting in the streets of Brisbane, Orange Sky has now grown to 9 services across Australia, washing 5.8 tonnes of laundry every week!  

I’m hoping the 2016 dinner will crack the $20,000 mark to help Orange Sky Laundry develop a new targeted service for women experiencing homelessness in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

So hurry, book your ticket today to GLAM It Up for Charity 2016 #GLAM16 – all the details below!


Posted in Australian charity, Brisbane Events, Community, Homelessness, Pay it forward, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attention Brisbane! Live music gig raising funds for orphaned and vulnerable children in Sierra Leone

My very big-hearted friend Jane, has spent the last year (maybe more) setting up an Australian based charity to help orphaned and vulnerable children in Sierre Leone.  Jane is hosting a music gig in Brisbane next month and YOU ARE INVITED!  All funds raised on the night go direct to her charity The Fig Tree Children

The gig is being held at The Triffid on Friday 19th August and Jane tells me she has a fantastic line up! Louie Shelton (Musicians Hall of Fame Guitarist who has performed with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, The Monkees and many others), he’s performing with Damian Band and 3 other awesome musicians: The Reversals (Indie Rock), The Brendan Leggatt Band (Blues Rock) and Asa Broomhall.

Tickets are $20 each, or $50 for VIP tickets for those who want to feel extra special, which includes access to the mezzanine floor VIP area, a complimentary drink and canapés.

More details below, I hope to see you there!

Posted in Australian charity, Brisbane Events, Children, Pay it forward, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One of a kind speakers. Great sound. Incredible cause.

It is funny how the world works.  You might remember a few posts ago, I wrote about social enterprise Substation33 that recycle and reuse electronic waste to create jobs and training opportunities for disadvantaged jobseekers in Logan?  (Here is the link if you missed it).  After writing that post, I took a load of electronic waste to them, which included some old computers, keyboards, electrical cords, a tv, AND the speakers from my first car, circa 1994.  Let me tell you, it was a very sad day for me to part with these speakers. These speakers had gotten me through a few broken hearts.  (At the time) these speakers were, second to my car, one of my biggest purchases of my life. Back in the day, these speakers played My Sharona a few too many times.  These speakers I have been hoarding storing since 2003.   These speakers (I had to keep reminding myself) were going to a good and worthy cause. Sob. Sob. Sob.

AMPLFY.jpgWell, happily, the story just got better!  Last week I learnt that Substation33 have partnered with another social enterprise, AMPLFY that hand build portable speakers, from new and recycled electronic parts. Each speaker has been designed in a do-it-yourself kit form, so that the buyer (you) can gain an introduction into electronics, through the creation of your very own portable audio system.  Don’t worry, if you are too much of a scaredy-cat, you can also purchase ready made speakers.  AMPLFY has both environmental and social impacts, diverting waste from landfill, and using the supported workshop environment of Substation33 to create this very unique product.

Brad Clair is the clever and big hearted founder of AMPLFY.  Brad told me a little bit about why he started AMPFLY…..

“After graduating from university, I moved to Cambodia to help women with HIV start their own business. When I came back to Brisbane, I was eager to make a difference so I began working on a start up which connected people with 3D printers to amputees, whereby 3D prosthetics were gifted to amputees in exchange for donations. Cambodia has a lot of amputees after the Khmer rouge.” Brad tells me.

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 11.27.32 PM.png“Despite my passion to make a difference, I was somewhat at a cross roads, as in my spare time I was spending more and more time, building and creating portable speakers, which seemed to offer little benefit to society. ” Brad said.  Until AMPLFY was born – “the perfect combination of having a positive social and environmental impact on society, whilst doing what I love to do – playing music from a speaker you have hand-crafted is a unique experience as you really begin to appreciate the sounds that it creates; it was something that I became addicted too.”

By 2019, the bluetooth speaker market is estimated to be worth over $7 Billion (PRNewsWire 2014)  Brad believes it is one of the most saturated and competitive marketplaces in the world. “They are mass produced speakers which look the same, sound the same, offer no benefit to society and ultimately end up as landfill.” 

“What’s more, some of the biggest brands in the industry are earning millions of dollars, profiting off cheap electronics sold at premium prices, where the people on the ground floor, actually building the speakers (whose jobs are likely to become automated) aren’t learning a valuable skill, nor are they earning enough money to live comfortably.” Brad adds. 

The AMPLFY mission is to provide an alternative, where portable speakers are better for the environment and are hand-crafted by their community, who are able to learn new skills, whilst earning additional income. 

Screen Shot 2016-06-26 at 9.53.07 PMYou can buy a do-it-yourself AMPFLY speaker kit for $179. Or if you are feeling slightly overwhelmed at the prospect of putting together your own speaker, AMPFLY are currently training people at Substation33 to build and sell portable speakers. 

The AMPLFY ready-made speakers are built by Substation33 community/participants in supported employment and training programs.

“We are able to recycle computer batteries, switches, wiring, computer fan grills, speaker drivers, radio/bluetooth antennas, bi-cycle tyres, terminal blocks (from traffic lights) and ex-army ammunition cases. Not only is this better for the environment, but we are able to source better components which would otherwise be too expensive to purchase brand new. This also means that our builders at Substation33 are able to earn higher profit margins.”  Builders will be featured on the AMPLFY facebook page.

AMAZING FATHERS DAY GIFT ALERT! Brad mentioned that some customers have had a great experience building an AMPFLY speaker with their dad – so Brad hopes more people get to share this experience and buy dad an AMPFLY speaker this Fathers day!

Go on, take Brad’s advice: “Music will never sound as great, as it does coming from the speaker you built with your own two hands. We provide the kit and the instructions, so that you can learn how to build the world’s most unique portable speaker at a fraction of the cost.”

The perfect Fathers Day gift! Buy one here on the AMPLFY website, or follow on facebooktwitter, or instagram.

It makes me feel very happy to know that these speakers will live again!

Posted in Community, CSR, Environment, GIVING, Recycle or upcycle, Social Enterprise, Uncategorized, youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ECOPADS = environment, education and empowerment


Ecopads Founder: Freeda Thong

I recently learnt about an amazing lady,  Freeda Thong, a Brisbane based social entrepreneur passionate about women, the environment and equality. Freeda recently ran a crowd funding campaign to raise $15,000 for her new, innovative, environmentally and socially impactful product – Ecopads.  A product that Freeda says gets mixed reactions of confusion, disgust, surprise, acceptance and admiration all at the same time!

Ecopads Australia is a social enterprise making perfectly imperfect, reusable menstrual cloth pads. For each Ecopad sold, Freeda sends one to a girl or woman in a developing country. In addition to this, Freeda is working with development organisations to provide educational workshops surrounding sex education and health hygiene.

“A one-for-one model makes it possible to not only tackle environmental issues close to home, but also reach out to help girls have access to sanitation in developing countries.” Freeda says.  Disposable pads are the 3rd largest contributor to landfill, so Ecopads provide women with the opportunity to make an environmentally conscious decision to manage their periods.  Watch Freeda’s fun clip outlining her product here.

Ecopads2You don’t have to live in Australia to buy or support the Ecopad movement.  Freeda has a growing market selling to overseas customers including Vanuatu, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, Papua New Guinea, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Freeda would love for you to join her on a journey to creating access to sanitation in developing countries by making cloth pads accessible to everyone, both here and abroad.

Freeda believes that this small behavioural change can make a large impact on the environment and culture around menstruation. Period shaming is a confronting and pressing issue in developing countries, where women are shunned within the community. This is often a reason for girls to drop out of school when beginning their cycles.

Freeda’s product has clear impact helping the environment, education and empowerment:

Environment: Disposables take up to 800 years to decompose. With each woman experiencing an average of 520 menstrual cycles, the numbers really add up quickly!

Education: 1 in 5 girls leave school in India, due to menstruation and lack of awareness around it.

Empowerment: Provide job prospects to women on the ground in India. Photographed here are women employed by Eco Femme, in Auroville, India.


Photo credit: Eco Femme, of women who are up-skilled and employed in India


To buy Ecopads visit their website.  To support Freeda and help spread the word, follow Ecopads Australia on facebook, Instragram, Youtube and twitter and SHARE, SHARE, SHARE this blog post!!!

OR send Freeda an email to tell her how awesome she is freeda@ecopadsaustralia.com


Posted in Community, Environment, Ethical Shopping, GIVING, Pay it forward, Recycle or upcycle, Social Enterprise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Give some words with heart

Do you think it would be possible to run a company that educates girls in developing countries, helps the environment AND makes a profit?

Meet Lauren Shuttleworth, a Brisbane based social entrepreneur who is doing exactly that with her eco-friendly stationery company Words With Heart.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.12.36 AM.png

Founder: Lauren Shuttleworth

Lauren tells of her frustration of seeing notebooks intended for young girls, with frivolous and disempowering statements on the covers, about boys, fashion, lipstick etc and being really bothered by this. Lauren firmly believes notebooks should be the starting point of inspiration, ideas, passion and creativity. So Lauren decided to start her own company doing exactly that, creating “mini billboards” of inspiration and empowerment for girls of all ages.

Lauren ran a crowding funding campaign in 2011 that raised her $20,000 to launch her new brand that funds education days for girls in developing countries, helps the environment, and spreads messages of empowerment and equality.

Words With Heart notebooks use 100% post consumer recycled paper and card, products are printed with vegie based inks, using solar power and no harsh printing chemicals.  “It’s as eco-friendly as it gets” Lauren says.

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 10.26.08 AM

Make a goal to change the world!

Every Words With Heart product funds a set number of education days for women and girls in developing countries – this goals planner to the left funds one day of education. Lauren has partnered with Australian not-for-profit organisations Care Australia and One Girl to deliver on this.  It is Lauren’s goal to fund 500,000 education days by the end of 2016.

Lauren sells notebooks, journals, travel diaries and printable planners.  Lauren also runs custom print items, for your own company or design.


For the month of June, Lauren is offering a special discount on her products – this week’s offer is 15% off customised business cards, including “all the fancy stuff” like recycled paper, gold foiling, round corners and more – email hello@wordswithheart.com for a quote or follow Words With Heart on instagram to get all of the month’s special offers.

Here are just some of her lovely Words With Heart notebooks:

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.35.37 AM

So next time you need a gift for a girl (of any age) or even a gift for yourself – check out Lauren’s beautiful range here, and give a gift that keeps giving and empowering women and girls all over the world!

Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 9.35.54 AM

Visit Words With Heart website, follow on facebook, twitter or instagram.


Posted in Causes, Children, Community, CSR, Environment, GIVING, Social Enterprise, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment