Tag Archives: #WVAbloggers

APACHETA: pop-up art exhibition by Melbourne artist, Ross Miller, partnering with World Vision Australia

Travelling to Peru in 2012 was such an epic adventure and bucket list item. I trekked to Machu Picchu and raised funds for Black Dog Institute. I’ve always loved the latino culture and quickly embraced the Peruvian cultures and their vast history of stories and traditions. I loved learning about the Quechuan people and seeing their marks left across the land. The thing that stood out the most was the apacheta. A series of stones in a sculpture like structure.  I left one of these on a high pass, 4400m along the Lares Valley route in memory of my grandmother and the adventure we took on.
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It’s so wonderful to see another organisation that I care so much about showcasing the apachetas and supporting the people of Peru. World Vision Australia (WVA) is partnering with Melbourne artist, Ross Miller, on a pop-up art exhibition of Peruvian inspired sculptures at Wick Studios, Brunswick. Opening speeches will commence at 7pm. Media is invited to attend at anytime.

APACHETA is an exhibition of sculptures made from wood, stone, bronze and ciment fondu, and is influenced by Miller’s many travels throughout Latin America. The apachetas are derived from the Inca tradition of stacking stones as a means of marking sacred sites, identifying trails and paying homage to the Andean earth goddess, Pachamama. ‘Apacheta’ is a Quechuan word for a pile of stones.
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APACHETA is an exhibition of sculptures made from wood, stone, bronze and ciment fondu, and is influenced by Miller’s many travels throughout Latin America. The apachetas are derived from the Inca tradition of stacking stones as a means of marking sacred sites, identifying trails and paying homage to the Andean earth goddess, Pachamama. ‘Apacheta’ is a Quechuan word for a pile of stones.

All sculptures in the exhibition are for sale, with Miller donating net profits to WVA’s Peruvian cook stove project. For every $100 AUD raised, WVA will provide one cook stove, which will directly benefit some of the poorest families in Peru.

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WVA’s Principal Advisor, Environmental Markets and Financing, Dr. Dean Thompson, will speak at the exhibition about the cook stove project and its impact on the economy, health and climate change.

For more information, please visit www.worldvision.com.au/apacheta. The sculptures are available to view at www.rossmillersculptor.com.au

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My epic two days of travel has nothing on that of the Syrian Refugees journey

As I arrived to Munich the other day after more than 45 hours of travel across 5 countries, on 5 planes and in a number of cars and buses, I felt guilty. As I looked out over the beautiful land of Germany from high above, I remembered that below me are hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees travelling by rail, road and foot in the hope of securing safety.

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My view as I arrived to Germany on the 10th September 2015

A woman carries a boy after crossing Greece's border into Macedonia near Gevgelija, Macedonia, August 22, 2015. Thousands of migrants stormed across Macedonia's border on Saturday, overwhelming security forces who threw stun grenades and lashed out with batons in an increasingly futile bid to stem their flow through the Balkans to western Europe. Some had spent days in the open with little or no access to food or water after Macedonia on Thursday declared a state of emergency and sealed its borders to migrants, many of them refugees from war in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski  - RTX1P7YZ

A woman carries a boy after crossing Greece’s border into Macedonia near Gevgelija, Macedonia, August 22, 2015. Thousands of migrants stormed across Macedonia’s border on Saturday, overwhelming security forces who threw stun grenades and lashed out with batons in an increasingly futile bid to stem their flow through the Balkans to western Europe. Some had spent days in the open with little or no access to food or water after Macedonia on Thursday declared a state of emergency and sealed its borders to migrants, many of them refugees from war in Syria and other conflicts in the Middle East. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski – RTX1P7YZ

How can I sit here and bemoan my travel, travel that will lead me to see my dear friends and enjoy a holiday. I chose my modes of travel. I have the funds to make my journey more comfortable. I also have the voice to complain or to raise an issue when I have one. How can I be upset about a nervous flyer and a crying child on a plane, these people are surrounded by fear and desperation as they worry for their futures.

Afghan immigrants land at a beach on the Greek island of Kos after crossing a portion of the south-eastern Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece on a dinghy early May 27, 2015. Despite the bad weather at least a dingy with over thirty migrants made the dangerous voyage to Greece. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1EPUP

Afghan immigrants land at a beach on the Greek island of Kos after crossing a portion of the south-eastern Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece on a dinghy early May 27, 2015. Despite the bad weather at least a dingy with over thirty migrants made the dangerous voyage to Greece. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTX1EPUP

Tears began to roll down my face as I remembered this video I saw the other day. Germans welcomed Syrian refugees who arrived by train to Munich after a long and difficult journey. What compassion, what care, such love!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34162844

BBC Video

BBC Video

Syria Crisis Response – statistics (Courtesy of World Vision Australia)

  • Total number in need of assistance in Syria and neighbouring countries: over 16 million (UNOCHA)
  • Refugees: 4 million (UNHCR)
  • Internally Displaced Persons:6 million (UNOCHA)
  • People in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria : 12.2 million (UN)
  • Global humanitarian appeal for Syria crisis for 2015: US$7.4 billion
  • Australia’s ‘fair share of the global appeal for 2015: AUD$144 million, but it has only pledged AUD$20 million for 2015.
  • Number of people killed in Syrian conflict to date: 220,000 (INGOs)
A baby cries at the border line dividing Macedonia and Greece August 21, 2015. At least 1,000 migrants and refugees pressed against Macedonian police lines on the Greek-Macedonian border on Friday and at least 10 people appeared to faint in the crush. People could be heard screaming and medical workers raced to treat those who passed out or were hurt. The crush ensued after police let several hundred through into Macedonia, having kept them out since Thursday under an emergency decree. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski - RTX1P3HW

A baby cries at the border line dividing Macedonia and Greece August 21, 2015. At least 1,000 migrants and refugees pressed against Macedonian police lines on the Greek-Macedonian border on Friday and at least 10 people appeared to faint in the crush. People could be heard screaming and medical workers raced to treat those who passed out or were hurt. The crush ensued after police let several hundred through into Macedonia, having kept them out since Thursday under an emergency decree. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski – RTX1P3HW

I am so blessed to travel and to see the world and to understand it is bigger than I am. It’s easy to get caught up in your day to day and worry about things that seem important. Please take a moment today to count your blessings – think of the things you do have. The greatest thing I know I have is my freedom. I live in a country free of war and I am able to live my life in peace. For so many, this is not a reality.

Please donate now to World Vision Australia’s Syria appeal

We saw that our voices have power. The Australian Government under public pressure have agreed to take in 12000 Syrian refugees, over and above the existing refugee quota. They’ve also agreed to give $44 million in aid support within Syria to those affected who remain.You can sign the petition here to lobby the Australian Government to give more support to Syrian Refugees: https://action.savethechildren.org.au/ea-action/action?ea.client.id=1917&ea.campaign.id=41897

A Syrian refugee holds her child in her arms as she sits in the port of the Greek island of Kos waiting to be registered and move with her family to the "Eleftherios Venizelos" vessel August 15, 2015. United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) called on Greece to take control of the "total chaos" on Mediterranean islands, where thousands of migrants have landed. About 124,000 have arrived this year by sea, many via Turkey, according to Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR director for Europe. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis - RTX1OCU3

A Syrian refugee holds her child in her arms as she sits in the port of the Greek island of Kos waiting to be registered and move with her family to the “Eleftherios Venizelos” vessel August 15, 2015. United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) called on Greece to take control of the “total chaos” on Mediterranean islands, where thousands of migrants have landed. About 124,000 have arrived this year by sea, many via Turkey, according to Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR director for Europe. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis – RTX1OCU3

World Vision’s response

World Vision, Oxfam and Save the Children have launched a joint public campaign appealing the Australian Government to:

  1. Increase Australia’s overall intake of refugees to 30,000 – not just Syrians, but for refugees from all countries seeking safety,
  2. Commit its fair share of humanitarian aid for Syria and neighbouring countries, and
  3. Increase diplomatic efforts towards securing a peace agreement to end the conflict in Syria.

Sign the petition here!

Some of my moaning on Facebook. I laugh at my ignorance and my frivolous “first world problems”.

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I know when my journey ends. I know when I’ve reached my destination and when I can rest. Tonight I hold in my thoughts and prayers those who are still travelling, who do not know where the final destination is or if there will be safety there.

Note: I am part of the World Vision Australia Blog Ambassadors program, #WVAbloggers. I am currently undertaking a one year contract with World Vision in the media team as a separate role to my World Vision job role. My views are my own.


It’s my birthday!! So i’m giving the gift of education

In a few weeks it will be my 28th birthday (eek) and as has become my tradition, I do not ask for personal gifts but instead reach out to my loved ones for their generosity.

As many of you know, I’m a passionate supporter of the work of World Vision Australia and have enjoyed my recent work with them, but also my ongoing role as a Blog Ambassador. A group of us ambassadors have come together with the goal of each raising $2015 in 2015 to support vulnerable street kids in Tanzania with education, care and protection.

Meeting my sponsor child and his family in Tanzania in 2008

Meeting my sponsor child and his family in Tanzania in 2008

Tanzania is close to my heart and I truly believe that education is a gift that keeps on giving. I’m asking for just $20.15 (yes, do you see what I’ve done there wink emoticon ) In order to reach my goal of $2015. So if 100 people give $20.15, I’ll be there in no time. That’s 5% of my Facebook friends (yes, a lot, i know!)

So please help me in celebrating my upcoming birthday by donating to the children of Tanzania and giving them the gift of education.

THANKS and yay birthdays!!

You can donate here: https://2015in2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-lovell 

Helping children like Lazaro to get an education in Tanzania is so close to my heart

Helping children like Lazaro to get an education in Tanzania is so close to my heart

More about the campaign here:

Join World Vision Blog Ambassadors’ $2015 in 2015 Challenge and support Tanzanian street kids with education, care and protection.

Financial hardship, family disintegration and abuse are driving more and more children to live alone on the streets in Morogoro, Tanzania. However life on the streets is dangerous and children have limited access to education, healthcare or income.

The Hope Street Children Project supports street kids in Morogoro with shelter, food, healthcare, education, counselling, and where possible reunites them with their families. Read more about the project on the World Vision Australia Blog.

Helping these gorgeous faces with the gift of education!!

Helping these gorgeous faces with the gift of education!!


Working with World Vision Australia

It is my profound joy to share with you that I am working with World Vision Australia in the media team on a full time three month contract.

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I have taken on this position as of May 25th 2015 and it is a wonderful opportunity. I’m working with incredible people in the media team to share the incredible work of World Vision Australia.

During this time, I will still be running my business Lovelly Communications in a low key manner. Please do feel free to contact me about your marketing, PR and social media needs for contracts beginning in the near future or further down the track.

I will continue to be a member of the World Vision Blog Ambassador team and to share my experiences in the field when visiting with World Vision in various countries. I will also be continuing my sponsorship of Kamala in Nepal through the child sponsorship program at World Vision Australia. I have been sponsoring children through World Vision for 10 years and this is a program I plan to support both personally and professionally for a long time to come.

This is a declaration that all views are my own shared on my blog and social media channels.

Thank you to everyone for their support in taking on this role. It’s an incredible opportunity to work for a cause and an organization I am truly passionate about.

Written by Emma Lovell, Director Lovelly Communications and owner “The Traveller Em” blog. 


The devastation in Nepal continues – how can we help?

To my great dismay, there has been yet another devastating earthquake in Nepal. As the relief and recovery efforts were in full swing this just adds another dimension to the tragedy and makes relief efforts even more urgent.

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World Vision Australia are on the ground meaning they are able to be more responsive to the needs of those most affected by the earthquakes. Sadly this is not an isolated incident as earthquakes of various magnitudes have been felt fairly consistently in the capital, mountains and surrounds over the past few weeks.

Read more about the relief efforts of World Vision Australia here. 

You can DONATE and support relief efforts in Nepal with World Vision here. They are distributing water, tents, tarpaulins, blankets and food.

Photo by Jan Møller Hansen

Photo by Jan Møller Hansen

The Telegraph in the UK has published an article on The Future of Tourism in Nepal. This too has been a massive fear of mine since the earthquakes occurred. Also since being there in just March of this year, I’m feeling an extremely close connection. It’s hard to imagine how they can recover from this with one of the largest sources of revenue for the country, tourism being slowed to a halt. Also, the city of Kathmandu serves as a hub for mountaineers and travellers coming in. The attracting being the rich cutlery and history of the city. These buildings now lay in ruins. Some areas such as Bhaktapur, which was largely made up of red brick and wood buildings is so damaged, there are still people in there who it may take months to recover. I feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the destruction these people are facing.

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Photo by Jan Møller Hansen

Through all this, the mentality and spirit of the people I know in Nepal, they persevere. They are a strong and resilient people. They have a strong sense of community and are helping one another and reaching out the world to join in and help.

I hope once we hear that it is clear, tourists will know the impotence of visiting and how much there is to Nepal – outside of the temples, cultural structures and mountains. There is a beautiful and tenacious people and one of the things I’ve loved so much about visiting over the past nine years, three times and sharing many special moments.

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My friend Bishaka is currently in Nepal, she is a woman of the country and is hurting at the sights she is seeing. She is currently in an orphanage and trying to figure out a way to help these children now and in the future after losing their families to the earthquake. They need food, shelter and in the future, education. How will they be able to recover from this and cater to so many? Together is the answer! And together with our help. It’s heartbreaking to read her updates each day and to hear of her tears, but I know she’s doing amazing work and will help so many. I’m trying to help her as much as I can.

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Photos above from Sindhupalchock, where she is currently trying to help some of the more remote villages. 

Thousands have died and many more have been injured and displaced by the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck Nepal. World Vision is initially aiming to reach 100,000 people with emergency relief – you can help by supporting the Nepal Earthquake Appeal today: http://wva.me/nepal-relief

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Matt Darvas in Gorkha, Nepal, sharing his experience of #NepalEarthquake

Some huge updates and news coming in from Gorka, Nepal, from Matt Darvas. Working with INF and World Vision Australia. Read the words from Matt.

To support World Vision Australia in Nepal, please donate here!

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UPDATE – It’s now 4:30 AM here in Gorkha, Nepal. Managed to sleep well for a few hours this morning though I slept under a tarp in an open field infront of government HQ with villagers afraid to sleep in homes. We had 2 tremors that woke me last night but no damage from them here. My focus today is on continuing to share the story from here, which is that more than 2 DAYS after the quake, there are many villages near my current location where no rescue teams have been able to land despite there being people buried under rubble with up to 70-90% of homes completely destroyed in those villages worst hit. This is because they DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT HELICOPTERS or rescue teams here yet. I can’t tell if that’s because those resources are genuinely unavailable or because they are being focused on Kathmandu and trekkers stuck around Everest etc. Whatever the case, the world needs to get those specialist resources here now where the death toll is certainly set to rise dramatically in coming days.

Driving into Gorkha

Driving into Gorkha

PLEASE PRAY – that the world would get this message from Gorkha and that I may be effective in helping to share. Pray for strength and wisdom as to how to best act and thank God I’ve somehow kept full 3G reception to keep doing live video interviews with world media. I am truly seeing God guide my efforts far far beyond what I could possibly imagine to achieve by myself and just trying to be a faithful witness to Jesus love amongst these devastated and scared people. God has not forgotten these people buried and trapped in the remote villages around me and nor can we.

Gorkha yesterday

Gorkha yesterday

AND please pray for my beautiful wife Brittany Darvas and daughter who are safe in Pokhara and starting to help neighbours there. In many ways it’s harder for Britt back there without me and looking after Zippy though we have wonderful Nepali and foreigner friends looking after them.

MSF arrives

MSF arrives

There’s also an update from Brittany, Matt’s wife in Pokhara, Nepal.

UPDATE: It’s 10pm here and we’ve just had yet another aftershock, almost 60 hours after the earthquake! Thanks for all your prayers and encouragement, especially with Matt away! Zipporah and I are doing ok, but obviously still stressed and anxious.

Today we took some supplies up to the house of our milkman, who lives in a village on the hillside next to Pokhara, as his house and many others there are either in ruins or are cracking so they’re having to sleep outside!

Thanks to Lucy for keeping me company (and sane) tonight!

Please continue to pray for Matt , for safety and strength and energy as he has been working day and night!

On a slightly humorous note, not letting Zippy out of arms length means I’ve had to sit her in the highchair in the bathroom when I’m on the toilet, which she finds hilarious!

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Lots of media and interviews today – tune in and check out the clips. Will share more updates where possible.

5:45 AM Nepal Time, 10.00 AM AEST – BBC five LIVE

6:00 AM Nepal Time, 10.15 AM AEST – MSNBC

6:30 AM Nepal Time, 10.45 AM AEST ABC News

7:00 AM Nepal Time, 11.15 AM AEST – Fox TV Australia

7:45 AM Nepal Time, 12 PM AEST- msnbc

8:15 AM Nepal Time, 12.30 PM AEST, ITV Good Morning Britain interview

10:15 AM Nepal Time, 2.30 PM AEST 702 ABC Sydney

21:15PM Nepal Time, 1.30AM AEST – CNN

Posted by Emma Lovell on behalf of Matt Darvas. International Media please contact diwa.aquino.gacosta from World Vision International on Skype. For Australian enquiries, please contact gabrielle.brophy@worldvision.com.au


Updates from the #NepalEarthquake from someone on the ground!

Thoughts are with World Vision Australia staff member Matt Darvas today as he heads to one of the hardest hit areas by #nepalearthquake. Matt is in the heart of the epicentre near Gorkha and heading to the most remote villages in this region to offer supplies and support.

Donations can be made here to support the efforts of crews on the ground: 

Driving into Gorkha

Driving into Gorkha

You can hear him speaking on BBC radio about his experience in Pokhara. My team and I were there less than a month ago. A peaceful lakeside town now over run with casualties from this disaster.

“The ground shook for 3 minutes” @mdarvas descibes the aftershocks in Pokharabbc.in/1EFiywH #Nepalquake

Pokhara one month ago.

Pokhara one month ago.

Just can’t believe the destruction in ‪#‎Nepal‬‪#‎durbarsquare‬ ‪#‎patan‬yesterday. I was there in 2006. See the bell…. Now look around … Support @worldvisionaus to get aid to ‪#‎Nepalquake‬ ‪#‎nepalearthquake‬https://emergencies.worldvision.com.au/…

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I’ve been watching news and updates all day and it’s starting to really affect me now the severity of the situation. The reality of the devastation that people are living through is inconceivable. I stood in these locations a few weeks ago… and now these places are rubble. The death told is 3200 and counting. To hear from friends today living through this turmoil is heartbreaking.

We can do something, we can donate and support non profit organisations on the ground to provide relief and supplies to those most in need:

Donate Nepal Earthquake Appeal

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Some updates from Matt today:

Tune in for interviews today with updates from the situation in Nepal‪#‎Nepalearthquake‬. Some may broadcast LIVE or be included in a later news bulletin.

8:15am Nepal time, 12.30pm AEST – Eternity – Australian Christian newsonline interview

9:15 Nepal Time, 1.30pm AEST Sky News Australia

10:45 Nepal Time, 3pm AEST – Radio 2UE

11:30 Nepal Time, 3.45pm 702 ABC Sydney

//::—-

PM Schedule

12:45 PM Nepal Time, 5pm AEST ABC Statewide Drive Victoria

Follow Matt on Twitter @mdarvas


My 5 favourite photos from visiting my World Vision sponsor child Nepal

It’s hard to choose, but these are the five top photos that I posted to friends and family from my day with Kamala, my World Vision sponsor child. I sponsored her with my mother for 5 years and to meet her was a dream. Seeing her school, looking into her eyes and hearing about her life was just incredible. We also got to see projects in the community and learn how World Vision has made a difference here.

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The moment I realised I was meeting Kamala, my #sponsorchild through@worldvisionaus. Her mother began to cry as her little daughter stood between us. So much emotion.

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A special moment with Kamala. It’s hard to connect sometimes when there are so many people and it can be so intimidating for the #sponsorchild. After some time sitting together, we started to make faces & I saw her relax and feel comfortable. I loved this moment. I said in “Nepali” are you ok!? Tik sa? She said “Tik sa.” I’m ok.

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The incredible elders of Kamala my @worldvisionaus #sponsorchild watch over our meeting together. Their smiles meant the world to me.

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My final moment with Kamala at #kailaliADP #worldvisionnepal@worldvisionaus we hugged and looked in each other’s eyes and smiled.

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My Darling Kamala and her little brother ran after the car until they couldn’t keep up. @worldvisionaus #sponsorchild visit. They then waved until the car was out of sight.

You can experience what it’s like to help those in communities such as this by sponsoring a child:

Learn more about how Sponsorship works here:

Follow my journey with World Vision Australia in Nepal on a number of channels:

#tag: #WVAbloggers

Instagram: @Lovellyem

Twitter: @Lovellyinc

Blog: www.travellerem.com

Facebook. www.facebook.com/lovellycommunications

What’s the other reason I’m in Nepal?

I’m climbing to Everest Base Camp on March 7, 2015. Sponsor me and support the work of World Vision Australia: https://everest2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-takes-on-the-best-trek-everest. You can follow our adventure on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hash tag #everestbasecamptrek2015 and by following @inspiredadvntrs on Twitter and the blog here.


Project visits after meeting Kamala, my World Vision Sponsor Child

After the emotion of meeting my darling Kamala , a little girl in Nepal I have sponsored with my mother for 5.5 years, I was treated to a tour of the local area with the World Vision staff. It’s important with World Vision to not only learn about and meet the child you sponsor but the greater community which is also supported by our generous donations.

Meeting Kamlaa

Meeting Kamlaa

The visit was of course the highlight and I have shared my experience and story here.

In the morning, my first stop was to the ADP office to meet with staff of World Vision. I was met at my hotel by child sponsorship manager, Kiran. He is a kind and sweet man who clearly has a passion for seeing children live a better life. Soon after I met the lovely Absara, a young intern at World Vision. I was the first child sponsor she had met and she was very excited to see my experience. We sat with the manager of the ADP, Mr Rajan and then met with the entire team. I always like this process with world vision. We are all introduced and each person tells their role. I also introduced myself and shared my many experiences with World Vision and my role now as a #WVAblogger for World Vision Australia. Most importantly, I thanked them for their efforts and tireless work. As a sponsor the best part is seeing the lives of our children in foreign countries and how our support helps.

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Kiran showed me around and also showed me the folder of Kamala’s entire sponsorship history. It was magnificent to see her development over the time and the correspondence we had had over the years. I also got to see the computer system where they keep all the updates on the children. It’s meticulously detailed and I was so impressed and pleased to see that World Vision are so invested in the children’s lives.

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After my visit to kamala’s school we went to another local office. This office was manned by two staff members and they explained their role in more of the nutrition and health side of the projects. They ran Early Childhood Development centres, mothers groups, Outreach Centres for immunizations and childs health and general nutition and health information for the wider community. They have a group called the Unity Society and again this main focus is health. Great to hear of so many programs being run and I would get the chance to see some today.

Staff building the Community Outreach Centre

Staff building the Community Outreach Centre

We went then on some very treacherous and bumpy roads and even had to stop short and walk due to mud and huge divots in the road. We were met by community volunteer, beautiful Padma and walked to amothers group. At the site, they were also building an Early Childhood Development Centre. This is where mothers could take small children and start their education and basic life skills.

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Mothers and babies met under a tarp and sat on a mat to greet me. I don’t like to be so formal and separated so I asked to sit amongst them and chat. We talked about their monthly meetings and what they learnt. Some were also members of savings groups, one of my favourite programs run by world vision. Through being a member they can save their own funds into a large pool with other women and take out small loans from the group to fund business growth or help in times of need with chidlrens health and education. It provides financial empowerment and business skills to women in these communities.

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The leader of the group was a Governemnt health worker and she was actually the mother of Padma. It was so lovely to see that the World Vision passion and support continues through the generations and really becomes a sustainable part of the community. I asked her questions about her role and what the group is able to achieve. She helps the mothers with health advice and they talk to them about nutrition and caring for their child. They meet once a month to share their stories and learn together. It was sucha pleasure to share time with them.

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We next went to visit a school. I love schools!!! This school had 1100 children…. Ummmmm!! They swarmed towards me as we approached and I remembered it was the festival Holi. There was colour flying everywhere and cheeky boys were chasing girls to smudge bright colours to their cheeks. I saw one looking at me slyly so I patted my cheeks and he gladly walked over and smeared pink all over my face. I was inducted to holi and the children roared with laughter.

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As I walked into the group and through the grounds, I was surrounded 360 degrees by fascinated children of all ages wanting to catch a glimpse. Another young man approached me, this time with handfuls of red dust. I welcomed him and he really got stuck into putting the colour all over me. Wow! If you’re going to do it, do it well. A few other boys came up and I now had a completely covered face and they found it very amusing. I smudged some colour off my face and patted it on the cheeks of the smaller children around me. I could have played all day. Except, when they started sparing water, we were outta there. My hosts led me upstairs to the teacher’s office to meet with staff.

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We sat in a room with six teachers and were joined by another young volunteer for World Vision. We again did the introductions of ourselves and what our roles were. They told me about working with the children and that there were 1100 kids in the school. I was pleased to hear 600 are girls and 500 are boys. So many girls in school is so great. There are approximately 100 registered sponsor children through World Vision at the school. World Vision run teacher training programs as well as the “One Goal” program here. That’s a program for children to play soccer and then take part in other activities such as hygiene, sanitation, child protection and awareness and other such important life skills. It was so nice to see the teachers engaged in the program and working with World Vision to help the children.

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Our final visit for the day was to the Outreach Centre, ORC. This is being built at the time and the community project manager was so proud to meet me and show me their work. I was one week too early as they plan on being finished and in business for the community next week. Governemnt health workers will come here and help with immunizations, weighing of children, health checks and running nuritiuon and basic care clinics for mothers nad children. Helath workers and volunteers will go around to the 300 households in the community and tell them about when they can go to the outreach centre. These are extremely important programs for World Vision as it gives people who would otherwise not have it, access to basic health and to education for a healthy child and family.

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We returned to the office. A long drive along bumpy roads and then down a busy highway. I stared out the window and let my mind wander. The thing about these project visit days is that it puts you on a whole new plane of awareness. The world is so much bigger than all of us. There are people and places we will never see, there are issues we will never know about and our role in context is so small. But great things start from small beginnings. Through sponsoring one child in a village, you can be a part of a community of supporters that help them to grow and develop for a more quality life.

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“Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything.

Do anything. Do SOMETHING!”

– Colleen Patrick – Goudeau

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Thank you again World Vision Australia and World Vision Nepal for giving me this opportunity to meet my sponsor and child and see into her world.

You can experience what it’s like to help those in communities such as this by sponsoring a child:

Learn more about how Sponsorship works here:

Follow my journey with World Vision Australia in Nepal on a number of channels:

#tag: #WVAbloggers

Instagram: @Lovellyem

Twitter: @Lovellyinc

Blog: www.travellerem.com

Facebook. www.facebook.com/lovellycommunications

 world vision

What’s the other reason I’m in Nepal?

I’m climbing to Everest Base Camp on March 7, 2015. Sponsor me and support the work of World Vision Australia: https://everest2015.everydayhero.com/au/emma-takes-on-the-best-trek-everest. You can follow our adventure on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hash tag #everestbasecamptrek2015 and by following @inspiredadvntrs on Twitter and the blog here.


Meeting my sponsor child Kamala in Nepal with World Vision Australia

Sitting in the car as we approached the school I felt a rush of emotion as the time was fast approaching. More than five years of sponsorship, close to a year of planning and hundreds of hours of travel and I’m only minutes from meeting my sponsor child Kamala.

Meeting Kamala

Meeting Kamala

I stayed in the car a minute longer as my hosts Kiran from the World Vision Nepal Dhanghadi Office and Intern Absara climbed out to wait for me. I took a short video of my nervous anticipation, braced myself for the hundreds of little faces that would greet me and prepared.

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As we strolled into the schoolyard we were surrounded by children, they are fascinated by this tall blonde visitor at their place of learning. They giggle as I glance in their direction. I’m sweeping their faces, searching for my Kamala, my sponsor child. I don’t know how the meeting will happen or when, or what’s the next steps. I have so many photos of her, but she has grown up over the years and a person can look so different in the flesh, I hope and pray that I recognize her.

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Standing and observing the playing children, a few come close to ogle me and I smile and make a face to them. Suddenly a girl strides toward me from my left and strikes out her hand “ Hello. Nice to meet you.” The girl is not wearing school clothes, and his followed by a woman in a sari and some others. Kiran approaches me from my right and I flick my head back and forth between them and ask quietly, still holding her hand “Is this her? Is this Kamala?” The mother takes my hand and shakes it and greets me in Namaste. I raise my hands to my face and take in a breath as I begin to shake and cry. I can’t help it. The emotion! I scoop up Kamala’s hand again and embrace her. I apologise for my crying and Kiran explains to her that I’m not sad, I’m happy.

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The family soon come to join and there is now a gathering of close relatives. I walk to Kamala’s mother who has also been crying while watching the greeting. We do the Namaste greeting and I bow my head to show respect. She holds my hands tight and shakes them. She introduces then her Ama, her mother. The grandmother of Kamala. I begin to cry again as I move to greet not one, but both of Kamala’s grandmothers. These respected elders also greet me with a Namaste. I’m then introduced to her father, elder brother, younger brother and younger sister. I’m rapidly losing count of family members and before I know it, we’re huddled together for a family photo. Four or five cameras point at us and shoot off photo after photo as we pull together. Wow! So much emotion in such a short time.

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Family portrait

I’m taken by the arm on my right by the mother of Kamala and on my left side gathered in by the two grandmothers. Kamala walks in front of me and I’m led to the meeting room where we can get to know each other and chat about their lives here. As we settle in, I ask a number of times “Tik sa?” “Are you ok?” to Kamala. This is overwhelming for me, but as a child of 12 with her entire school and family watching on, I can imagine this is extremely overwhelming. Kiran, our World Vision guide, also translates and asks her if she’s ok and assures her I’m a friend. She smiles faintly as her family begin the ritual of welcoming me and the other guests to the village.

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After having a traditional welcome, it’s time for me to get to know Kamala. She is a little shy but was so bold when she first greeted me. I wanted to make her feel at ease and decided gifts and fun things were a good start. As I sponsor Kamala jointly with my mother Sarah, I had been loaded up with some amazing Australian gifts for her. Mumma loves to shop and she’d done a great job of finding education and fun things for Kamala to share. We gave her a game, books to read, puzzles of Australia, pencils and Australian colouring books and stickers. We also looked at a giant map of Australia together and a card filled with Australian animals. It was nice to share with her these things from my home.

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I got to learn about the family and the siblings of Kamala. Her cheeky younger sister hovered between the two of us the whole time. I could feel her lounging on my arm and twirling my hair in her fingers. She was a funny little thing and seemed to adopt me right away. Kamala said thank you for the sponsorship and it meant a lot to her to receive the cards and letters. When I first got there, I had shown her the cards and drawings that we had received and that I had brought them with me. I also got to see our correspondence and the history of the sponsorship in her folder at the office, which was a beautiful walk down memory lane.

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Kamala started to smile a little and I could see her watching me. She would just look up at me, I would smile at her or make a cheeky face and she would smile modestly. I told her “sundari” – it means beautiful in Nepali. I asked them to translate a story for me too. My friend in Nepal is called Sundar, meaning the male version of beautiful, handsome. He calls me sundari but he failed to mention that it also means female monkey. The girls laughed at this story and told the World Vision staff that I was definitely not a monkey. I felt at this moment closer to Kamala and I held her hand and squeezed it. She held my hand back and seemed much more at ease.

Kamala's relatives and friends

Kamala’s relatives and friends

It was time for me to share some of my family. I took out the trusty iphone and showed pictures of my mother, father, brother and sister. In Nepal, family is very important. They want to know about your background, where you come from and what your family has been doing. Not so much about what happens next, it’s your history that’s important. They all agreed my family was beautiful and enjoyed comparing the pictures of them with me.

Showing my family to Kamala

Showing my family to Kamala

The parents and the World Vision staff engaged in conversation and I had some time to just sit with Kamala, her sister and another little friend. It was time for selfies!! I wanted to see the big beautiful smile of Kamala and so I showed her my big smile – she caught on and we both smiled together with the cheeky monkeys hanging behind us. It was so lovely to laugh and relax with these little sweeties.

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After all to short a time, it was time to leave. I wanted to make a reason to stay. I wanted something else to see here or do here. I knew it wasn’t possible and felt our time coming to a close but I just couldn’t bare it. All this time, for what seemed like just a few minutes. Kamala took me by the hand and her sister launched onto me and grabbed my other arm. The girls walked me out and seemed to be leading me a bit astray. Kamala’s father had to yell out to her and direct her back to the driveway where the car was, I think they were trying to unsubtly kidnap me and keep me there.

Grandmothers and friends

Grandmothers and friends

Kamala looked up at me and had asked me before we left the meeting if I could come to her house. Due to child protection policy of this World Vision ADP there are no home visits allowed. I completely understand this and am happy to comply, but how does one explain this to a 12 year old girl who wants to invite you into her home and share her world with you? I left that for the staff to do in Nepalese and with my eyes said sorry. As we stood near the fence and the other children came rushing out to farewell us, I could feel the sadness mounting. Kamala gazed up at me and we held hands. I embraced her for a hug and touched her face and said be good.

The World Vision Volunteers, Kamala and her mother

The World Vision Volunteers, Kamala and her mother

There were tears and hugs with mum and the grandmothers. They kept holding my hands and touching my face and pulled me in for long big hugs. I think it’s important for them to meet the person who is involved in their child’s life from a distance. It’s certainly important for me to know them and have a connection with them. I’m so glad I could be there. The goodbyes seemed to drag on and on, none of us wanting to say goodbye. With each round of handshakes and hugs, I again went back to Kamala and pulled her in for another hug. I wanted her to know how much I cared.

Kamala's mother

Kamala’s mother

My parting words to mum, dad and the World Vision staff were “School is so important. Her education is number one.” It was translated for them and I said it’s so so important that she remains in school and gets her education. It’s my wish for her and it’s something I believe so passionately. Every child should have access to quality education and the opportunity to learn. She’s a healthy girl and I hope for her a bright future.

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I climbed in the car and it looked as though the entire village had come out to see us off. Amongst the hundreds of little faces I could only see Kamala’s staring straight back at me. She had a gentle smile and she seemed so calm and content. I waved and waved as we pulled away.

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Usually I don’t like to turn back, I like to say goodbye and go. This time, I turned my head and I looked back to see her running after the car. She was running and running, powering her legs along. Her little brother joined her and they chased the car waving and smiling. It was breaking my heart but I couldn’t turn away. I was laughing and commentating their approach of the car and their running. They ran for as long as they could keep up and then stopped as they approached the turn off to their home. From there they stood and waved, the three little siblings waving until we were completely out of sight. What a moment, I’ll never forget seeing them run with such joy and warmth to bid us farewell.

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The afternoon was a full program of local office visits, program observations and site visits. It was wonderful to see what the area was up to but my mind was awash with the warm memories of my meeting with this little girl I’ve known from afar for so long. I look forward to sharing the stories and things I’ve learned from this project in many more blogs.

Mothers group in the same area. Also an Early Childhood Development centre.

Mothers group in the same area. Also an Early Childhood Development centre.

It was an honour to have the opportunity to meet Kamala and now I can’t wait to share many stories of my visit with my friends and family back home. Especially my mum Sarah who I share the sponsorship of Kamala with. I wish more than anything she could have been there to experience the meeting. It’s proven to me once again how important child sponsorship is and how we really can make a difference to the lives of so many.

Sharing with Kamala the gifts from my mother

Sharing with Kamala the gifts from my mother

Thank you Kamala. Thank you for the joy you’ve brought me and for your beautiful smile.

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You can experience what it’s like to help those in communities such as this by sponsoring a child:

Learn more about how Sponsorship works here:

Follow my journey with World Vision Australia in Nepal on a number of channels:

#tag: #WVAbloggers

Instagram: @Lovellyem

Twitter: @Lovellyinc

Blog: www.travellerem.com

Facebook. www.facebook.com/lovellycommunications


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