The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2021-01-18T00:02:26Z National grant opportunity designed to help Australian not-for-profits develop robust resilience 2021-01-18T00:02:26Z national-grant-opportunity-designed-to-help-australian-not-for-profits-develop-robust-resilience At a time when not-for-profit organisations of all shapes and sizes across the nation are considering how to become more resilient, the Community Business Bureau (CBB) has reinforced its commitment to the sector by announcing funded business model resilience consulting support as part of its successful Community Business Grants program. The opportunity is expected to be welcome news for the nation’s not-for-profit organisations, who continue to experience significantly disrupted income streams and activities. CBB General Manager Consulting and Business Services, Jane Arnott  said it was critical to get behind the not-for-profit sector and work with organisations so they can adapt and thrive in the months and years ahead. “Even though the uncertainty of the past year is set to continue for some time yet, it is important that not-for-profit organisations understand that the decisions they make and resilience strategies put in place will be absolutely critical for their future success. The global pandemic, societal lockdowns and economic uncertainty have challenged organisations and their business models like never before,” Ms Arnott said. “This grant opportunity allows organisations to work with CBB’s sector-leading business consultants to analyse the various components of their business model, such as key partners, activities, resources and revenue streams, identify potential vulnerabilities, and develop strategies which address those vulnerabilities and maximise future growth opportunities.” The pro-bono consulting support will include workshops and business model development, as well as potential for training and capacity building. As a not-for-profit social enterprise that provides salary packaging and business consulting services to over 600 organisations nationally, CBB’s Community Development Program assists community organisations to strengthen their social impact to ultimately deliver better community services and supports. As one component of the Community Development Program, Community Business Grants provide organisations with opportunities to develop the strong business skills needed to ensure they are more sustainable, create a bigger social impact and ultimately do more for their communities. Any organisation registered with the ACNC or ORIC can apply for the Community Business Grants. In addition to reinvesting annual surplus into supporting and strengthening the NFP sector through grants and other development initiatives, CBB develops tailored solutions designed to address current and emerging trends and sector needs. The organisation also provides ATO-approved salary packaging services to employees of eligible not for profit organisations, who can see as much as 15% increase in their take-home pay. More about the Community Business Grants can be found here with applications closing at 1pm (ACST) on Friday 5 February 2021. This opportunity will be followed by another grant round due to open on 1 February, which has been designed to assist organisations to provide more NDIS services across Australia, particularly in regional, remote, rural, Aboriginal, and Torres Strait Islander communities. More about the NDIS Growth Community Business Grant can be found here. COVID-19 ‘Feeds Slave Trade, Sexual Exploitation’ Says GFA World 2020-12-18T05:20:54Z covid-19-feeds-slave-trade-sexual-exploitation-says-gfa-world TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- COVID-19 is feeding the “growing evil” of human trafficking, pulling more of the world’s children into slavery and sexual exploitation, a new report reveals.   The pandemic has “cemented human trafficking as the third biggest illicit trade on the planet, behind illegal arms sales and drugs,” says the report by Australia based humanitarian agency GFA World, www.gfaau.org.    “The global pandemic has only heightened the desperation of those at risk and deepened the cunning of the traffickers,” says the report, (https://www.gfaau.org/press/human-trafficking/), citing worsening poverty and hunger as key drivers of the $150 billion a year global slave trade.   “The horrific exploitation of children and young adults for sex and forced labour is the most vile crime,” said GFA World founder K.P. Yohannan. “We must act now to cut off this growing evil.”   Travel and border restrictions -- intended to slow the spread of the virus -- have driven traffickers underground and made victims more difficult to identify, the report says. Of the estimated 20-30 million slaves in the world today, four out of every five are women or girls.   A Wider Net The surge in online activity due to lockdowns is giving traffickers a wider net to entrap potential victims, including children. Police in Canada warn that “chatter in dark web forums” shows predators view the pandemic as an opportunity to lure children into the sex industry.   In some parts of Asia, traffickers enlist or coerce parents and other relatives to sell their children to “placement agencies” -- fronts for domestic slavery.   Predators are even “masquerading as helpers” to find new victims. “Forced prostitution and chosen sex work are going to acquire a new momentum in the post-COVID-19 world,” the report says.   Interpol, the international police agency, says the pandemic “has not blunted the determination of organised crime groups to prey on the vulnerable.”   Traffickers are taking even greater risks, too often resulting in the tragic deaths of their victims. In March, 64 African migrants suffocated in a shipping container; in May, 39 Vietnamese migrants were found dead in a refrigerated truck in England; and in June, a former official in Arkansas pleaded guilty to smuggling women into the U.S. to put their babies up for adoption.   In Europe’s lucrative soccer industry, it’s estimated there are 15,000 trafficking victims every year.   Emergency Interceptors Faith-based humanitarian groups like GFA World and International Justice Mission are on the frontlines in the fight against slavery -- with GFA World’s indigenous workers acting as “emergency interceptors” in city slums and remote villages where millions are easy prey for predators.   “Through vocational training for women, protecting girls by providing safe water access, and our Bridge of Hope children’s program, we’re saving tens of thousands from falling victim to traffickers,” said Yohannan, author of Never Give Up. “This is how we confront the evil of human trafficking head-on, and show people the love of God.”   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. COVID-19 Hunger ‘Worse Than Disease’ Says GFA World Leader 2020-11-12T05:25:39Z covid-19-hunger-worse-than-disease-says-gfa-world-leader TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- The leader of a major faith-based humanitarian agency has warned that a new COVID-19 surge could cause catastrophic starvation in poor nations.   Widespread hunger across Asia caused by the pandemic is proving to be “worse than the disease itself,” said K.P. Yohannan, president of GFA World, www.gfaau.org.   Yohannan’s warning comes as some countries face a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections, increasing fears of mass starvation as people are unable to go to work.   “For hundreds of millions living in Asia, the threat of starvation is more dangerous than the disease,” he said. “According to the U.N., virus-linked hunger is leading to the deaths of 10,000 more children every month.”   Starving ‘Before Their Eyes’ The missions leader and author of Never Give Up said many parents in Asia are watching their children “starving to death before their eyes.”   Massive numbers of day labourers -- the poorest of the poor -- are especially vulnerable, along with the legions of children who beg on the streets of Asia’s megacities.   “Many, surprisingly, do not fear the virus; they fear the hunger that will come,” said Yohannan, whose Australian-based organisation has helped feed nearly 200,000 people since the pandemic began.   160 Million Could ‘Plunge Deeper Into Poverty’ A resurgence of COVID-19 “could push (up to) 160 million people deeper into poverty and hunger,” he said. “As followers of Jesus we need to think deeply about what we can do to help.”   “It’s so easy for us to get caught up in COVID-19 anxiety and overlook the problems that existed before the pandemic,” Yohannan said. “But these problems -- such as starvation and homelessness -- have only become greater.”   Across Asia -- the world’s most populated continent, home to six out of every 10 people on earth -- GFA World workers are handing out rice, cooking oil and other food items to help stave off hunger for thousands.   “This is sometimes the only food they’ll get in three days,” Yohannan said. “When people see they’re not alone, that there are others willing to give so that they may live, it gives them hope and shows them that God really cares about them.”   GFA World asked for prayer for its workers and for “those who are facing this crisis, as we seek to do all we can to help.”   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. JESI poised for accelerated global growth 2020-11-11T05:48:38Z jesi-poised-for-accelerated-global-growth Brisbane, 11th November 2020: Innovative remote worker and journey management company JESI, has received a multi-million-dollar funds injection from Microsoft aligned VC firm, Future Now Capital Management. The investment will serve to fast-track JESI’s global growth rollout and underpin its ‘customer first’ value add strategy. With the recent appointment of Chairperson Brad Seymour, who has an established reputation for scaling global business’, the JESI company is geared and supported to take on the exciting next phase of its customer-centric expansion.Queensland headquartered, JESI has developed market leading SaaS solutions that significantly improve the protection, monitoring and management of remote and mobile workforces. With origins and a strong presence in the global resources sector, JESI counts Rio Tinto, Orica, BHP, Sandvik among its clients. Other target industry verticals include NGO’s, linear infrastructure and AEC.Already on a growth trajectory, JESI has seen a strong up curve in business and interest through the COVID months with scalable functionality in the solution able to provide a connected eco-system for ‘work from home’ employees. Clearly though, the Future Now investment will turbocharge staff growth, service capabilities and development projects. “Technology integrations will be a key development focus in achieving the company projected growth outcomes” said Kathy Wilson General Manager of Customer Success. “our existing customers are looking to evolve with interoperability solutions and connected technology. JESI software enables them with a compelling value proposition”.JESI CEO Joe Hoolahan said, “The pandemic has bought to the fore the need for enterprises to protect their workers as they work remotely while at the same time ensuring they remain connected. We are also acutely aware that reliable activity data is increasingly becoming a key business metric and we already witnessing how our customers are using the data to drive workforce movement efficiencies,” Joe Hoolahan added.JESI is the first investment for newly founded, Future Now Capital Management, a Sydney based venture capital firm. In 2019 Future Now Capital Management executed a world first partnership with Microsoft that will see investors in the Fund gain direct exposure to companies selected for Microsoft’s accelerated growth programs. Future Now Capital Management will oversee the Fund’s investments into, and the growth strategies of, the portfolio companiesBrad Seymour, JESI Chairperson said, “I am incredibly excited about firstly, the product excellence and relevance of JESI in today’s new world, and secondly, the opportunity for JESI to grow exponentially with Future Now’s backing. I look forward to working with the team through this scale-up stage and beyond.”JESI Management Solutions are now actively recruiting talent to join their team. To explore what roles are on offer refer to the https://jesi.io/careers-at-jesi/ page. Afford celebrates NAIDOC Week with traditional dance and culture 2020-11-10T19:52:17Z afford-celebrates-naidoc-week-with-traditional-dance-and-culture Aboriginal inspired face painting and a traditional cleansing ceremony. These were just some of the activities that were held at Afford’s Green Valley Day Program to observe NAIDOC Week in 2020. Afford (The Australian Foundation for Disability) is a not-for-profit disability provider that supports individuals to achieve their goals for work, home and life under the NDIS. Supporting individuals of all abilities to participate in meaningful and community minded activities form the basis for program development across Afford disability services. In recognition of indigenous culture during NAIDOC Week (8-15 November), Green Valley Day Program staff organised for representatives of the local indigenous people to visit and reflect on the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Green Valley Day Program celebrated NAIDOC Week in July when the activities are traditionally observed. The site was bright with colour, dance, art and music. NAIDOC Week celebrations began at Green Valley with clients having their faces painted with the colours of the Aboriginal flag. Staff and participants then welcomed Jason, from the DHARAWAL people, who talked to the group about Aboriginal culture. Jason asked Afford staff to join him in a cleansing ceremony, as a sign of new beginning for the community. A welcome dance followed with depictions of the kangaroo, emu and eagle. Participants of all abilities joined in the dance and movements. An important part of the welcome ceremony involved placing clay handprints onto a surface to be kept and recognised as a symbol of solidarity. An Afford jacket was chosen as the surface. Handprints adorn the jacket, which is now displayed proudly in a frame at the Green Valley site. Throughout the day, clients were supported to complete Aboriginal inspired dot painting on plywood boomerangs. Afford encourages and understanding and appreciation of communities and cultures. Individuals living with disability are supported to learn more about the world around them and the cultures and history that makes up their local community. Afford is a registered charity and has been operating in Australia for 68 years, providing a range of disability supports to thousands of people every day. As one of Australia’s longest-serving not-for-profit disability organisations, Afford goes above and beyond traditional service offerings to adapt to new operating environments to support individuals achieve their goals for work, home and life under the NDIS. For more information visit www.afford.com.au or call 1300 233 673. ENDS Media Contact: Maria Crema: Crema PR m 0402 239 929 e maria@cremapr.com.au About Afford - www.afford.com.auThe Australian Foundation for Disability is a registered charity providing disability services to thousands of people across Australia. The supports provided by Afford include Shared Living; Overnight Respite; Social and Community Programs; Transition to Work Programs; Transition to Retirement Programs; Carer Support; Disability Employment Services; Supported Employment; Allied Health Support, Support Coordination and Supported Holidays. Afford Remembers: locals with disability handmake red poppies for Remembrance Day 2020-11-10T19:47:50Z afford-remembers-locals-with-disability-handmake-red-poppies-for-remembrance-day Red poppies will adorn Afford Blacktown Day Program’s front garden this Remembrance Day (11 November), with each poppy carefully handcrafted by the many individuals with disability who attend the site. Afford (The Australian Foundation for Disability) is a not-for-profit disability provide that supports individuals living with disability to engage in meaningful activities and learn more about the world around them. In learning about Australia’s history, participants of Afford Blacktown Day Program have created ceramic red poppies during art program for Remembrance Day, to recognise those who have fought and fallen for our country. “We incorporate programs and activities that are meaningful and open discussion about community events and values,” said Karolina Zdrojkowska, Acting Team Leader. “The Remembrance Day poppies art activity was one where we could facilitate a connection to the community. Everyone who made a poppy was very proud of all they had created and happy to share this with the broader community.” The site is lucky enough to have nurtured beautiful, live, red poppies, but the addition of ceramic red poppies will highlight the significance of the 11th of November at their site. During art program, clients were supported to use plaster to form the petals and markings of their poppies. After the plaster was dry, clients used vibrant red paint to decorate their creations. Wire stems were then added to the poppies. Everyone placed their poppies in the front garden. Some even fixed their poppies to the front tree. On Remembrance Day, staff and clients in Afford sites across Australia remember those who suffered and sacrificed their lives during war and conflict to protect others. Afford is a registered charity and has been operating in Australia for 68 years, providing a range of disability supports to thousands of people every day. As one of Australia’s longest-serving not-for-profit disability organisations, Afford goes above and beyond traditional service offerings to adapt to new operating environments to support individuals achieve their goals for work, home and life under the NDIS. For more information visit www.afford.com.au or call 1300 233 673. ENDS Media Contact: Maria Crema: Crema PR m 0402 239 929 e maria@cremapr.com.au About Afford - www.afford.com.auThe Australian Foundation for Disability is a registered charity providing disability services to thousands of people across Australia. The supports provided by Afford include Shared Living; Overnight Respite; Social and Community Programs; Transition to Work Programs; Transition to Retirement Programs; Carer Support; Disability Employment Services; Supported Employment; Allied Health Support, Support Coordination and Supported Holidays. Funding creates new outdoor space for Kings Park disability hub 2020-11-10T19:44:34Z funding-creates-new-outdoor-space-for-kings-park-disability-hub Barbecues, arts and crafts activities, high tea, lunch gatherings, music sessions and so many more activities will now be enjoyed by individuals with disability who attend Afford’s Kings Park Day Program thanks to 2019 Community Building Partnership funding. Afford (The Australian Foundation for Disability) is a not-for-profit disability provider that supports individuals to achieve their goals for work, home and life under the NDIS. The Community Building Partnerships grant for Kings Park Day Program has assisted in funding upgrades to site facilities to be more accessible and functional for people of all abilities. The addition of a new outdoor awning is part of the recent upgrades. The cover will give individuals more opportunities to participate in activities in the fresh air and outdoors all year round. A new concrete path and ramp has also been formed, making it even easier for clients in wheelchairs and those with limited movement to access the outdoor space. The large, airy space gives staff and participants the choice of another area to enjoy socially distanced activities, while still allowing clients to come together as one community. Chairs and a table have already been set up in the area for clients to become familiar with the space. Thanks to a level area, clients of all abilities can access the area, and the awning protects from extreme weather. “Our clients are enjoying the new undercover space. The awning has made the area useable for longer. The outdoor space gives clients more choice in how they want to engage in activities and do the things they love,” said Gifty Aidoo, Team Leader, Afford’s Kings Park Day Program. Staff are planning to incorporate gym equipment in this new, large outdoor area. Arts and crafts, lunch gatherings and so many more activities are being planned now that the space is available and ready to be enjoyed. Community Building Partnership funding is vital in ensuring Afford continues to deliver exceptional programs and facilities for all Affordians. “Thanks to Community Building Partnerships funding, we have been able to complete these much needed upgrades, and the individuals who attend our service will benefit from enhanced facilities to support them explore their interests and achieve their goals in life,” commented Gifty Aidoo. Afford is a registered charity and has been operating in Australia for 68 years, providing a range of disability supports to thousands of people every day. As one of Australia’s longest-serving not-for-profit disability organisations, Afford goes above and beyond traditional service offerings to adapt to new operating environments to support individuals achieve their goals for work, home and life under the NDIS. For more information visit www.afford.com.au or call 1300 233 673. ENDS Media Contact: Maria Crema: Crema PR m 0402 239 929 e maria@cremapr.com.au About Afford - www.afford.com.auThe Australian Foundation for Disability is a registered charity providing disability services to thousands of people across Australia. The supports provided by Afford include Shared Living; Overnight Respite; Social and Community Programs; Transition to Work Programs; Transition to Retirement Programs; Carer Support; Disability Employment Services; Supported Employment; Allied Health Support, Support Coordination and Supported Holidays. Church Needs ‘Love, Not War’ Say Francis Chan, K.P. Yohannan, Hank Hanegraaff 2020-11-09T04:24:43Z church-needs-love-not-war-say-francis-chan-k-p-yohannan-hank-hanegraaff QUEENSLAND, Qld -- Three of the best-known and most influential Christian leaders in the western church are calling for an end to bickering and bitter conflict in the church -- warning that it’s tearing apart the “family of God.”   Francis Chan, best-selling author and former California megachurch pastor, cited a surge in blogs attacking fellow believers online, as well as acrimonious church splits over non-essential differences.   “It looks like this family is in shambles, and who would want to join (it)?” he said.   Urging believers to “get back to love,” Chan -- author of Crazy Love -- said segments of the church in America are “at war” and “screaming at each other” instead of seeking to be “in one accord,” like the early church in the Book of Acts.   Taking part in a new roundtable video discussion -- Why Is There So Much Division in the Body of Christ?: And What Can We Do About It? -- Chan, GFA World founder and Never Give Up author K.P. Yohannan, and ‘Bible Answer Man’ Hank Hanegraaff agreed fighting within the church flies in the face of Christ’s prayer in John 17 for his followers to “be one, even as (I and the Father) are one.”   Click here to watch the roundtable discussion.   Yohannan, who launched Australian-based GFA World, www.gfaau.org four decades ago, drew attention for his groundbreaking book Revolution in World Missions that shook up the traditional Western approach to overseas missions. Some have accused him of being too critical and judgmental of the Western church.   Love: ‘Greatest Doctrine’ “My place in life is no more to even think (judgmentally) towards other people,” Yohannan said. “Love is the greatest of all doctrines. When that is violated, we become (like the) Pharisees.”   Hanegraaff -- author of Truth Matters, Life Matters More and a well-known radio show host, stirred up a hornets’ nest when he converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity three years ago -- said: “It can boil down to… in essentials, unity; non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.”   In the wake of stinging criticism aimed at him, Hanegraaff said he’s learning humility. “I’m often labeled the ‘Bible Answer Man’… but I am not the authority.”   The three leaders have been heavily criticised online and in other venues for challenging the status quo of modern Christianity, which Chan says focuses too much on “charismatic personalities” and “popularity contests.”   As a result, Chan says, some in evangelical circles have branded them “heretics.” “Many lovers of Christ, that are part of his true church, are misunderstood,” said Chan. “All of us know in part and see in a mirror dimly. How do we become ‘perfectly one’?”   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA World’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. 375 Million Children in ‘Crushing Poverty’ Says GFA World 2020-10-19T05:59:11Z 375-million-children-in-crushing-poverty-says-gfa-world QUEENSLAND, Qld -- Around 375 million children worldwide -- including nearly one-in-six children in Australia. -- live in crushing poverty, says a new report coinciding with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Oct. 17.    The staggering global number – more than the entire populations of Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand combined -- is revealed in a special report by leading mission agency GFA World www.gfaau.org as the U.N. marks its annual awareness day, aimed at stirring action to fight poverty.   The report -- Fighting Global Poverty With Ideas -- says education and ideas, along with teaching values such as compassion and integrity, can help catapult the next generation out of the jaws of poverty.   “The ability to eradicate extreme poverty is here,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “Ideas and values together can transform the world.”   A Global Scourge Grinding poverty is most often associated with developing nations in Africa and Asia, but it’s a scourge in wealthy, developed countries, too.   According to the UNSW and ACOSS 2020 Report (povertyandinequality.acoss.org.au/poverty/), nearly one-in-six children in Australia lives in poverty. The federal poverty line for a family of four is around $49,920 a year, with many living in a ‘poverty gap’ beneath that in deep poverty.   And, the group says, approx. 17% of Australians with a disability lives in poverty.   Globally, millions of widows -- and millions more living with the disease leprosy -- are shunned by their families and neighbours, plunged into extreme poverty and struggling to survive as outcasts in their own communities. They’re seen as cursed, and excluded from the mainstream of life and business.   ‘Don’t Deserve Anything Better’ “In Asia -- the world’s most populated continent -- people are often kept in deep poverty by superstitions, prejudices, and the belief that their lives are not important and they don’t deserve anything better,” said Yohannan, author of Never Give Up: The Story of a Broken Man Impacting a Generation.   Children like six-year-old Bir, who scavenges plastic bags for his parents, are led to believe they’re as worthless as the trash they sort through.   “When GFA World’s Bridge of Hope centre opened in his village, Bir and his friends discovered they were created for a higher purpose, and that God loves them,” Yohannan said. “This knowledge sets kids free and completely transforms their lives.”   Bridge of Hope not only provides spiritual hope and academic tutoring for more than 70,000 children living in poverty in Asia, but also models Christian values such as honesty, kindness, and good work ethics -- character traits that can eventually lead to better employment, spark entrepreneurial ideas, and break the generational cycle of poverty.   “It’s critical that this generation does not give up, that it’s empowered to break free from the stranglehold of poverty,” Yohannan said. “Otherwise, countless millions of children will be doomed to a life of misery in the world’s gutters and slums. They deserve so much better than that.”   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news 650 Million Child Brides Worldwide Says GFA World 2020-10-15T06:16:11Z 650-million-child-brides-worldwide-says-gfa-world TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- Girls face greater exploitation than ever, with 650 million child brides in the world today, a shocking new report reveals.   As women’s rights take centre stage in Australia and many parts of the world, the reality for millions of girls worldwide is sexual exploitation and forced marriage before the age of 13.   The horrific treatment of girls -- including sex trafficking, sex-selective abortions, and denial of education -- is exposed in a special report titled Rewriting the Tragedies of Girlhood, released by GFA World www.gfaau.org to coincide with the U.N. International Day of the Girl, Oct. 11.   In 2014, the kidnapping of 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists grabbed the headlines, but rampant abuse of girls across Africa and Asia continues largely under the radar: In Bangladesh, a survey of 375 sex workers revealed nearly half of them were child brides, married as young as 11, and trafficked into prostitution In China, sex-selective abortions resulted in a national shortage of women, fueling demand for child brides and sex workers North Korean girls who escape across the border to China are forced to stay “invisible” and often end up in brothels and the cybersex trade Girls in Asia as young as nine are forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams, live-streamed to a pay-to-view global audience “Globally, millions of girls – more than 25 times that of the entire Australian population, in fact -- are trapped in a web of exploitation,” said GFA World founder Dr. K.P. Yohannan. “Girls living in areas of political instability, conflict, or oppression are especially vulnerable to forced marriage and sex slavery.”   In China, girls are trafficked from neighbouring countries, lured by the promise of jobs. Victims are forced to cohabit with men who don’t speak their language, keep them locked in tiny rooms, and rape them at will. Often, girls are beaten and drugged.   UNICEF -- the U.N. children’s agency that stages the annual International Day of the Girl every October to raise awareness -- estimates there are 650 million child brides globally, including women who married in childhood. Girls are often forced to marry early because their parents don’t want them, placing a far higher value on boys.   ‘You Should Have Been A Boy’ One of four sisters, Ruth was treated cruelly by her father who flew into a rage when she was born. “You should have been a boy,” he later told her. When Ruth decided to go to Bible college, she knelt at her father’s feet to get his blessing. Instead, he kicked her in the face.   “While Ruth was at college, her father’s heart softened and he came to know the love of Jesus,” said Yohannan. “When she traveled home and stepped off the bus, her father ran to hug her. Change happens when people see every single girl is precious because she’s created by God in his image.”   Giving girls the opportunity to pursue education is key in the battle against exploitation and child marriage -- with GFA World’s Bridge of Hope program providing schooling and safety for tens of thousands of at-risk girls in Asia.   When 13-year-old Krupa realised she was being roped into a childhood marriage, she alerted workers at the Bridge of Hope centre she attended. Within minutes, “they arrived at our house like angels” and intervened to stop the ceremony, she said. Today, Krupa has achieved her goal of becoming a teacher -- and married of her own choice when she was 20.   GFA World’s full special report is at https://gfaau.org/special-report/child-marriage-child-trafficking-girl-problems/.   ###   GFA World, www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. Charmaine Became a Carer at 21. Afford Supports Carers of Individuals with Disability during National Carers Week 2020-10-12T20:02:34Z charmaine-became-a-carer-at-21-afford-supports-carers-of-individuals-with-disability-during-national-carers-week Australian not-for-profit disability provider, Afford (The Australian Foundation for Disability), runs a Carer Support program to support the wellbeing of parents and carers of individuals with disability as part of the organisation's whole-of-life approach to disability supports. This week, National Carers Week (11-17 October 2020), Afford encourages all Australians to recognise and appreciate the valuable contribution of carers in the community.At just 21 years of age, Charmaine became the full-time carer of her older sister, Monique, who lives with intellectual disability. For the past five years, Charmaine has been Monique’s daily support for bathing, meal preparation and getting out and about. Charmaine put her studies for a career in aged care on hold, after study and work became too difficult when coupled with caring for her sister. Not wanting to rely on friends or family to care for Monique, Charmaine turned to Afford’s Short Term Accommodation (respite) services in Lakemba, St Marys and Eschol Park for weekend breaks to give her time to catch up with friends or take on extra shifts at work. Charmaine is one of the many unpaid carers who go above and beyond to care for a loved one with disability.There are around 2.7 million carers across Australia who provide unpaid care for a family member or friend with disability, mental health condition, chronic condition, terminal illness, alcohol, or other drug issue or who are aged(1). Afford’s Carer Support Program provides parents and carers with opportunities to participate in social outings with others who share similar life experiences. Outings include everything from lunch and spa days through to evenings out at cabaret shows at the theatre. “Afford recognises the physical and emotional challenges faced by many carers and families supporting an individual with disability. Through our Carer Support program, we aim to encourage time for carer wellbeing through events and respite options, so they can be the best carer for their loved one,” said Jessica Scicluna, Events Coordinator – Carer Events. “Our Carer Events give everyone the chance to share the tough times and the triumphs and help them draw strength from others to continue their role as carers.” Afford offers Short Term Accommodation to provide give individuals living with disability a chance to take time out from the everyday and explore their interests in a supportive environment. Short Term Accommodation for individuals with disability also provides respite for families and carers to catch up on other aspects of their lives or simply take time to care for their own wellbeing. Afford is a registered charity and has been operating in Australia for 68 years, providing a range of disability supports to thousands of people every day. As one of Australia’s longest-serving not-for-profit disability organisations, Afford goes above and beyond traditional service offerings to adapt to new operating environments to support individuals achieve their goals for work, home and life under the NDIS. For more information visit www.afford.com.au or call 1300 233 673. ENDS Media Contact: Maria Crema: Crema PR m 0402 239 929 e maria@cremapr.com.au About Afford - www.afford.com.auThe Australian Foundation for Disability is a registered charity providing disability services to thousands of people across Australia. The supports provided by Afford include Shared Living; Overnight Respite; Social and Community Programs; Transition to Work Programs; Transition to Retirement Programs; Carer Support; Disability Employment Services; Supported Employment; Allied Health Support, Support Coordination and Supported Holidays. Sources:(1) Carers Australia NSW Australian Beauty Queen Fights to Raise Awareness for Rohingya Refugees 2020-10-07T01:56:31Z australian-beauty-queen-fights-to-raise-awareness-for-rohingya-refugees Australia's first Rohingya beauty queen, Pan Sandar Myint is advocating for hundreds of Rohingya refugees, who have arrived in Indonesia after six months at sea.A wooden boat carrying 297 Rohingya refugees, including 14 children, was spotted several miles off the coast of Lhokseumawe city on Sumatra's northern coast by local fishermen in early September.The refugees set sail from southern Bangladesh at the end of March or early April, bound for Malaysia, but were turned back by both Malaysian and Thai authorities because of coronavirus restrictions.There are fears the refugees may have been held hostage at sea for a period by traffickers demanding money before allowing them to disembark.The Rohingya have for years been fleeing persecution in Myanmar for other south-east Asian nations.Ms Australia World Universal 2020 national finalist, Ms Myint recently signed on as the ambassador for the Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation (ABRO), and intends to use her beauty pageant platform to advocate for what has been declared by the United Nations as "one of the most persecuted minorities in the world".“Most people assume that beauty pageants only promote physical beauty, which is not the reality; beauty pageants aim to promote the beauty of emotional intelligence and to savour humanitarian values in modern society,” said Ms Myint.During the COVID-19 lockdown, Ms Myint has kept active with many opportunities through her pageantry platform aside from her ambassadorship for non-profit firms (ABRO & Humanity) including becoming a translator and language reviewer for Polaron European Language Services.With the Ms Australia World Universal crowning event postponed until March 2021, Ms Myint has also been productive by launching her own You Tube web series entitled “Empower Success”, which aims to promote human rights issues and female empowerment.“Empower Success Media is my own female empowerment web series on You Tube where I present on such topics as Cyberbullying and The Art of Make up & Confidence,” said Ms Myint.“The Covid-19 pandemic has taught me that humanitarian efforts are of utmost importance. This is the perfect time for us all to change our actions to moral and ethical ones to save our beautiful world.”- ends -For more information or interview requests, please contact:Joanne RahnDirectorzanthii communicationsPhone: 0402 148 334Email: joanne@zanthii.comFacebook: http://www.facebook.com/zanthiiau Australia’s agricultural future: growing with technology 2020-09-28T20:09:47Z australias-agricultural-future-growing-with-technology Drought, climate variability, biosecurity, global competition and consumer preferences are some of the greatest challenges facing Australian farmers, their impacts threatening our position amongthe most efficient primary producers in the world. However, Australia’s primary producers have a long history of embracing innovation and adopting technology to improve productivity and adapt to harsh conditions.The Future of Agricultural Technologies report released today by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) identifies and discusses the technologies that could address these challenges and bring about both incremental and transformational changes to increase the profitability, sustainability and productivity of our agriculture industry.The report was commissioned by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council, with support from the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. It is the fifth report in ACOLA’s Horizon Scanning series, which draws on the expertise of Australia’s Learned Academies and the Royal Society of Te Apārangi.“Australia’s diverse agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector is a $69 billion industry, delivering significant benefits for our nation—particularly at a time where our economy is facing unprecedented challenges. However, reaching the Government’s goal of $100 billion by 2030 will likely require more than just incremental technological advancements,” Dr Finkel said.“Historically, Australian producers have been rapid adopters of innovation, and these emerging technologies will help our agriculture sector to transform and tackle current and future challenges.”Professor Stewart Lockie, one of the Chairs for the ACOLA Expert Working Group, said, “Innovation in our agriculture sector is critical for our economy, our food security and so much more. With a supportive policy environment, workforce and investment, we are confident that the future of agriculture in Australia will be one in which data analytics and artificial intelligence are as at-home on the farm as they are in any other high-tech industry”.The digitisation of farms through the ‘Internet of Things’ and data gathering and use will likely play a central role in future farm management strategies, allowing farms to track resources, monitor animal and plant health, support farm labour activities and enable precision agriculture.Other technologies could help us develop new products to meet climatic conditions and respond to consumer preferences, such as authenticating a product’s origins and quality assurance.ACOLA Chair, Professor Joy Damousi said that increasing technology uptake in our agriculture sector can also help Australia to maximise opportunities for regional employment, business development and Indigenous landholders. She also noted that there are clear roles for all stakeholders in supporting the sector to realise the potential of these new technologies, including to stimulate the agricultural technology and innovation ecosystemand build consumer confidence.The report examines the opportunities presented by nine technologies to improve the efficiency and profitability of agricultural production, develop novel agricultural industries and markets, and to contribute to a range of social and environmental values. The report explores technologies such as sensors, the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, machine learning, large scale optimisation and data fusion, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and distributed ledger technology. Importantly, the report highlightsthe range of challenges and considerations for governments, industry and the wider sector to further develop and enable the adoption of these technologies. A copy of the report and summary paper is attached (and will be available at https://acola.org/hs6-future-agricultural-technologies/)The Horizon Scanning Series is commissioned by Australia’s Chief Scientist, on behalf of the National Science and Technology Council. Previous reports have focused on artificial intelligence, precision medicine, synthetic biology and the role of energy storage in Australia. Reports can be accessed at https://acola.org/programs/horizon-scanning-series/ Expert Working GroupProfessor Stewart Lockie FASSA (Chair: from Sept 2019)Dr Kate Fairley-Grenot FAICD FTSE (Chair: Dec 2018 – Sept 2019)Professor Rachel AnkenyProfessor Linda Botterill FASSAProfessor Barbara Howlett FAAProfessor Alex McBratney FAAProfessor Elspeth Probyn FAHA FASSAProfessor Tania Sorrell AM FAHMSProfessor Salah Sukkarieh FTSEProfessor Ian Woodhead Media contactFor more information or to arrange interviews, contact: Ryan WinnChief Executive, ACOLA0484 814 040 About ACOLAACOLA is the forum whereby Australia’s Learned Academies and our Associate members come together to contribute expert advice to inform national policy; and to develop innovative solutions to complex global problems and emerging national needs. Through the learned academies, ACOLA has access to more than 3,000 of Australia’s greatest minds to bring together critical thinking and evidence to inform robust policy decisions. Millions of Widows in ‘Crisis of Survival’ Says GFA World 2020-09-21T05:02:51Z millions-of-widows-in-crisis-of-survival-says-gfa-world TOOWOOMBA, Qld -- One of the world’s biggest poverty-alleviating organisations spotlights the huge “uphill battle” facing many of the world’s 258 million widows in a just-released report.   Treatment of widows is often startlingly unfair and cruel, catapulting them into a crisis of survival, says the new global report by Australia-based GFA World, www.gfaau.org.   Titled Widows Often Face Uphill Battle (https://www.gfaau.org/special-report/widows-worldwide-face-tragedy-discrimination/), it examines the different struggles faced by widows in the U.S, Africa, and Asia.   Those struggles include battles over widows’ benefits in America, being stripped of homes and possessions in Africa, and the practice of shunning and shaming in Asia.   “In some Asian cultures, when a woman’s husband dies, she’s often stripped of her dignity, her worth, and her human rights,” said Dr. K.P. Yohannan, founder of GFA World, www.gfaau.org. “Many widows are deprived of their home, their property, and their possessions, leaving them destitute.”   In parts of Asia, many young widows face sexual harassment and abuse, often turning to begging or prostitution to survive.   Widows in some cultures are viewed with suspicion and disgust -- sometimes even branded as witches or blamed for their husband’s death and shut out of community life.   ‘Excluded and Invisible’ “Cultural shame and prejudice often render widows excluded and invisible,” said Yohannan, whose faith-based organisation supports 40 local Sisters of Compassion teams helping widows across Asia. GFA World’s support includes vocational training for widows and giving them opportunity to take part in income-generating activities, such as sewing.   These GFA World teams of visiting women provide emotional and spiritual support, praying with widows in their homes and showing them they’re not alone.   Asia, the world’s biggest continent, has an estimated 57 million widows – roughly equivalent to more than double the population of Australia. “On the surface, this seems like an overwhelming uphill battle,” said Yohannan, “but every time a widow receives help and encouragement, we rejoice.”   Supporting the grassroots efforts of local churches in cities and rural villages, GFA World aims to “show the love of God” to outcast widows who’ve known only rejection.   “The Apostle James told us in his epistle that true religion is to care for orphans and widows in their distress,” Yohannan said. “The challenge facing the church around the world today is to not just read the Bible, but to do what is written in it.”   ###   GFA World www.gfaau.org is a leading faith-based mission agency, helping national workers bring vital assistance and spiritual hope to millions across Asia, especially to those who have yet to hear about the love of God. In GFA’s latest yearly report, this included more than 70,000 sponsored children, free medical camps conducted in more than 1,200 villages and remote communities, over 4,800 clean water wells drilled, over 12,000 water filters installed, income-generating Christmas gifts for more than 260,000 needy families, and spiritual teaching available in 110 languages in 14 nations through radio ministry. For all the latest news, visit our Press Room at https://press.gfa.org/news. How do you see things? 2020-09-16T04:36:44Z how-do-you-see-things Are you the glass half full type of person or the glass half empty? I guess at times we are both.Recently I was pre-arranging a funeral for a client, her elderly mother in the final stages of life and sadly like many with dementia. She hadn't seen her mother or held or hand for many months, COVID restrictions saw to that. On the surface, it just appeared to be a very sad situation.As we began to talk and I started to learn a little about her mum, my client described how her mother had always been full of fun and laughter and these are the memories she would carry with her, not the sad ones.She told me a story of when her mother in her 70s and wheelchair-bound, but still full of life had an appointment with her neurologist. The prognosis wasn't good and the specialist explained to her mum the ramifications of her diseases. She sat quietly in her chair as he explained as well as he could what to expect. After he had finished talking she sat silently for a few minutes. Concerned, the doctor walked over to her chair and knelt in front of her. Her eyes suddenly lit up, like a light bulb had just been switched on as she casually queried the doctor, "would sex therapy help?" Startled but as quick-witted as her, the doctor fired back "well, do you have someone in mind?" with that twinkle still in her eye she replied, "do you have a younger brother?" Needless to say, the room erupted in laughter.It got me to thinking, even at the worst of times, it is the way in which we choose to deal with a situation which will dictate the manner in which we move forward.COVID restriction has unquestionably thrown great hardship on many people. For me, I have been amazed at the manner in which families have accepted and dealt with loss during this time.So maybe next time you are faced with what seems an insurmountable challenge in life, remembering the story of my elderly client might just bring a smile to your face and maybe assist you in looking at your situation in another way,