Posted in Animals and conservation, Charity, Elephants, Happiness

There’s still time to give a gift that keeps on giving.

It’s Christmas Eve but it’s not too late for the most valuable presents of all.

We used to always buy a gift and put it under the Kmart Wishing Tree. My youngest, Blake would help pick the gift and I enjoyed watching him giving to a child who didn’t have the same opportunities as him. He’s 21 now and asked if we were going to do it this year.

I said, “It’s okay we’ve done our giving this year by sponsoring our elephant Tundani and a staff member at Umoja Orphanage Kenya.” Plus, there is no way I’m going back to the shopping centre in the madness that is Christmas Eve. “We’ll check out if we can do it online.”

The chances of carpark shopping rage, shopping trolleys with a life of their own hitting my car, crazy women running me over (that actually happened at Robina Shopping Centre and lucky her bonnet only clipped me and I wasn’t hurt. And no she didn’t even stop to check on me), so no I’ll keep safe and finish my giving at home.

It’s the 29th year of Kmart Wishing Tree and if you can’t make it into a store today you can still donate online. All gifts are distributed by The Salvation Army and Mission Australia. It helps families who can’t afford Christmas gifts to enjoy their Christmas and reFoster parent program the david sheldrick wildlife trust. Elephant.ceive something nice.

Last week I re-sponsored our baby elephant Tundani. Tundani is part of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust Baby Elephant Foster Parent Program. These elephants have been orphans (often through poaching) and the DSWT have carers who first rescue the babies, hand-rear them at the nursery and gradually reintroduce them to wild herds and transition them back into their natural wild life. Each elephant has its own personality just like a human child. I’ve found the greatest joy of being a foster parent to Tundani is seeing his personal journey through the diaries of his carers. DSWT keep extensive records of the orphans’ progress and plenty of photos as well. It’s a gift of giving that you and your family will get so much joy from and hopefully elephants will not become extinct.


If you’d rather be involved with something closer to home, you could volunteer at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. From meet and greet of visitors to helping out at the Wildlife Hospital there’s plenty to do for our own Australian Wildlife. You can also foster an endangered native Australian animal like bilby, echidna, wombat and Koala.

If you read this blog regularly you’ll know of my support for Umoja Orphanage Kenya (founded by Australian Cathy Booth). You can do all sorts of sponsorship but their Christmas appeal is about sponsoring the staff. For as little as $5 a week you can help this wonderful cause that, not only helps orphans in Ukanda, Kenya, but the community in the surrounding area. This is a self-sustainable orphanage project that helps break the cycle of poverty. You can set up a recurring donation via Rotary at

While most of us are enjoying a nice home, copious amounts of food and alcohol, pressies, family and friends; spare a thought for those who have very little, particularly the homeless. You can give them a gift by donations or volunteering your time. The Bill Hoyer House was opened on the Gold Coast 20th December. You can go online to donate for the accommodation and support of homeless youth. For more information on other homeless support services the Uniting Care Community have hubs both ends of the Gold Coast.

My favourite giving gifts list:

So giving doesn’t need a wrapped present. It just needs to be heartfelt and meaningful.

Enjoy your Christmas whatever your religion, culture or country. I wish for you happiness, health, shelter, love and kindness, not just at Christmas, but always.

Posted in Art, Charity, Publishing, Volunteering Overseas, Writers, Writing Competitions

Another year of Umoja Writing Competition comes to a close

I am immensely proud of Umoja Writing Competition and my contribution to it. In an a busy year, both personally and professionally, fitting in the time to commit to the blog and other promotions for Umoja Writing Competition is sometimes difficult, but the end result is always worth that effort. I also have the help of founder Cathy Booth and deputy principal Deborah Lawrence as well as some anonymous judges (you know who you are). Without them my job would be so much harder, so thank you. We raise much needed funds for Umoja Orphanage Kenya Project and that’s the most important thing.

About Umoja Writing Competition

The Umoja Writing Competition was created as a fundraiser to contribute to the Umoja Orphanage Kenya Project. The orphanage was founded by Australia Cathy Booth and is supported by Sunrise Rotary Club Bundaberg and Rotary Club of Diani Beach Kenya.

The organiser of this writing competition, Donna Munro has worked in the publishing industry as a marketing publicist, editor and is also a published writer. She has a love of Africa as well as the written word, so to collaborate with the Umoja Orphanage Kenya Project, by creating a writing competition, is a perfect fit and something that she looks forward to again.

The competition is heading into its fourth year. We are hoping for plenty of quality stories after the last three year’s success. These stories will be judged by a panel (to be selected from Umoja, Rotary and the publishing industry). You can read about 2014  winner Lauren or 2015 winner Kirsten. And the newly announced winner of this year’s competition Disha Raval who is only 12 and born in Kenya.

Here is the post today about Disha’s win:

And if you’d like to read the winning entry:

While the competition is in hiatus you can still use the page to donate the Umoja Orphanage Kenya. Though the blog promotes literacy the biggest promotion is the Umoja Orphanage Kenya Project and the wonderful work Cathy and her team do.