Organic Schools Garden Program (BFA)
The Organic Schools Garden Program is a free education program available to all Australian primary schools and anyone with an interest in organic gardening. Please visit their website for more information www.organicschools.com.au
"Teaching children how to grow their own vegetables, prepare meals and understand about organic produce and the unseen chemicals used in most food consumed today is an incredible gift for this generation. Learning to cook healthy food is an invaluable life skill for any human being and it also makes for a fun learning environment where many academic skills (reading, writing, maths, science) can be taught while the kids are in the garden, reading a recipe or preparing a meal." Lauren Burns.
Red Dust Role Models is a program which aims to ‘enrich the lives and encourage the dreams' of indigenous youth in remote Northern Territory. Working with the issues identified by community leaders Red Dust aims to support positive lifestyle choices, build self-esteem and encourage active participation in sport and education.
Check out the website for more information and view stories and photos from Red Dust tours www.reddust.org.au
"Although we re here to encourage healthy lifestyle choices, staying in school and playing sport, I feel privileged to be here. The kids are so accepting of us and share and tell us about their culture". Lauren Burns.
Click here for Red Dust Role Models Website
"If you think you are too small to be effective you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito!"
- Anita Roddick, The Body Shop
Lauren was the ambassador for World Vision’s Destroy a minefield in 2001-2002, rebuild lives campaign. The aim of the campaign is to raise funds to rid Cambodia of landmines.
Landmines are hideous weapons designed to kill or inflict devastating wounds. Landmines have a life span of over 50 years. There are still between 4-6 million landmines in Cambodia. In 2001, 167 people died in Cambodia as a result of landmines – with a total of 796 casualties, that’s 2 people every day.
Can you imagine helping to clear the minefields in Cambodia? Imagine the joy of empowering Cambodians to be free from landmines. This is happening right now. The ‘Destroy a minefield’ campaign was launched in 2001 with the support of the Australian Government; giving $2 for every $1 raised. Even in such a short time progress has been made, five sites have been cleared in Cambodia and local communities have allocated this land for new projects:
* Health care centre
* Fruit tree plantation and education centre
* Community Watt (temple)
* Land for internally displaced people
* Crop area for families
Lauren visited these sites in March 2002 and saw the impact they had on the community in such a short time.
"The clearance of Landmines is an issue that I have always felt passionate about. Seeing images on TV and in the media always struck a chord with me. I guess it is the pure nature of landmines that made me want to become involved the raising money to clear them.
When I arrived I was struck by the enthusiasm, generosity, humbleness, sense of family and joy that the Cambodian people shared.
On my way over on the plane I started a book called ‘First they killed my father – a daughter of Cambodia remembers’ written by Loung Ung, a Cambodian woman growing up in during the Khmer Rouge time.
Reading this book gave me a greater insight into what Cambodia was like before 1974 and the KR invasion. She tells her story from a heartfelt but historical point of view. As she writes from a child’s perspective her simplistic account of the KR camps, the destruction of her family and the auto-genocide of her people is devastatingly powerful.
As we travelled I read and the more I read the more I realized what the Cambodian people actually meant when they said matter of factly "yes, I was in a camp" or "oh, we never found my cousin, I assume she is dead."
These people not only live with such recent civil unrest but their country is a minefield and a memory of the suffering that has gone before and constant threat of suffering to come – for those unfortunate enough to step on a mine or a UXO.
Despite the fact that there are still between 4-6 million mines in Cambodia, the Cambodian people are rebuilding their country with hope and joy."
Lauren also had the chance to meet her sponsored child Ravuth on her second visit to Cambodia.
"It brought me so much joy to know that I had had an impact on his family. His mother held onto my arm and kept beaming at me, even though we didn't speak the same language, so much was said."
As a result of the World Vision child sponsorship program Ravuth's community now has fresh clean drinking water, good roads and a local school.
Click here for exerts from Lauren’s diary while she was in Cambodia
Something to consider: Around one in two Australians now own a mobile phone, costing an estimated $500 each. In Cambodia, there is one unexploded landmine for every two people. $500 will de-mine 100 square metres of land…
"We must seek a higher level of human awareness, compassion and assistance" - Lauren Burns
To get involved and make a difference call World Vision on 13 32 40 or visit the website: www.worldvision.com.au