Looking Beyond

digital parents melbourne

This is a post I want to write well. I put off writing it for this very reason but, I’ve come to realise I just can’t do it. I can’t get it down right so I going to get it down the best way I can. I hope you can read between the lines and see my heart.

First, I want to start with my trip to Melbourne with my friend Bernie to the Digital Parents Conference.

digital parents conference melbourne 2012

Are you ready? Here it goes from left to right:

Jumped on the nice hotel bed.

Readied myself for the conference; wore a Kellie Christie necklace.

Met Darren Rowse from Pro Blogger who talked about blogging for social good. Inspiring stuff.

Fun at dinner in my LBD purchased from Forever New.

Caught the tram with Bernie into the city.

Asked my Instagram followers which shirt to buy: red or blue. Red won the most votes but I bought the blue in the end because I have a lot of red already in my wardrobe.

Bernie won a $100 voucher for The Baths Cafe and we had a fabulous dinner. Food was amazing!

Last day in Melbourne. Can you see how much I love this city in my face? Wore another Kellie Christie necklace.

Found a pair of Dorothy-Red shoes for $10 from 7 Angles. There’s no place like home.

Visited the National Gallery of Victoria.

Admired St Pauls Cathedrial.

Drank Nespresso coffee…

…with Bernie.

Said goodbye to Melbourne. Bye Melbourne; had a blast. x

Something More

Something I haven’t shared about my time in Melbourne happened before the whirlwind above.  While I was there, I visited with the team at World Vision with a group of Blog Ambassadors.  The day was spent, first learning about World Vision, and then brainstorming about how we can use social media, and our respective blogs for social good which is an exciting prospect!

World Vision Blog Ambassadors

Annabel from GetInTheHotSpot.com

Eden from Edenriley.com

Emma from ScoopNutrition.com

Kate from  Picklebums.com

Kelly from BeAFunMum.com

Lisa  from NewLifeOnTheRoad.com

Louisa from Louiseclaire.com

Maddie from Lilmagoolie.com

Jasmin from WonderWebby.com

Serena  from Retireyoung.com.au

John from SoberPaddy.com

Right Place, Right Time

The path I’m on with my blog, and World Vision’s path crossed recently. It was a chance meeting, so to speak; more of a right place, right time thing. I’m excited about it!

You see, I’ve been thinking more about my blog of late, and how I can use it to make a difference outside of the comfortable life I live here in Australia. As I look over the pictures above, I feel very blessed to be able to enjoy such things in life. I don’t feel guilt, but I do feel a sense of responsibility, and want to share what I have with others; to give. Because I can. Because I must. Because I want to.

What does it mean?

This is very much a personal journey, and not much will change here on the blog.  Rather, I want to look for ways to incorporate a sense of looking beyond as I want to gift my children a broader view of the world and the people in it.  This is another opportunity to live out my faith and connect with people. I aim to acknowledge need, tell stories, speak truth, gain perspective, share resources, be compassionate, make a difference, live with understanding, learn from others and give love. I’m only one mum sitting here at a computer, but I have a voice.

Eden In Niger

Eden is only one mum too, and she is just home from covering the food crisis in Niger, Africa. My heart aches.

Inspiring posts

Hey, White Girl

Zenouba the Starfish

eden in niger

Why World Vision?

Honesty. Voice. Heart. Commitment.

I heard from many different people while I was at World Vision, and four things struck me.

1. Honesty. World Vision has been around since 1950 and there was frank honesty about the things they did well, what they have learned and how they could do things better.

2. Voice. Every person who spoke to me that day was different and had varying roles. However, over the course of the day, all the voices mixed together to create just one voice.  It wasn’t a voice of rigid control but rather the undertone real heart. This caught me by surprise as it was a very beautiful, and unexpected thing.

3. Heart. There were stories, there were tears, and I saw the heart of people working to make a difference.

4. Commitment. There is an emphasis in equipping communities so they are able to help themselves in an effort to ensure a long term benefits.  Projects are catered for specific communities with respect and empowerment.

World Vision that day, became a person to me.  Real.  Not so much an organisation but a person with a heart for the needy, singing with a strong unified voice yet with the vulnerability needed for growth.

I had a blast in Melbourne. It was fun.  It was also good for my heart.

Tell me

I would love to hear your honest thoughts about aid, World Vision, admin costs, supporting a child, and how to make a difference. You can be absolutely honest with me.

Relevant Links

East Africa Crisis

Support a Child

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

Latest posts by Kelly - Be A Fun Mum (see all)

Comments

  1. says

    As a result of reading some of Eden’s posts, my lovely husband has sponsored a child.

    On the one hand, I realise that this is not enough.

    But what is enough?

    If we allow ourselves to think that small things don’t make a difference, we would do nothing.

    Something is better than nothing.

    xx

  2. Cath says

    We started down the WV path nearly 10 years ago, but the admin costs side of things put me off. So I looked for alternatives. Did the “think global, act local” and sponsored a child living in Australia through The Smith Family. When we started 100% of the funds went directly to our sponsored child to help them buy uniforms, books, go on school excursions like their peers – that sort of thing. Then came across the amazing School of St Jude. Sponsored a child there and have been so so happy with our choice. What Gemma Sisia has done for the children of Arusha in Tanzania is amazing, and their feedback to sponsors is first class. We have a photo of our sponsored child in the house and talk about him regularly and eagerly read his letters when they arrive every few months. When the children are older we’ll be going to visit the school (he’ll most likely have graduated school by then, but we’ll be continuing with our sponsorship journey as long as we are able to).

    You’re right Kelly, you do have a voice, and it’s a good thing to use it.

    x

    • says

      Love your feedback Cath…and I especially LOVE hearing about the journey you’ve been on to find the right sort of giving for your family.

      As a family, we support many, many different things. We already sponsor a child (have so for many years), support a family directly in another country, give to our local church, and give love gifts when we can, and also now support WV through my blog channels.

      In regards to admin costs (with WV it’s 9.4%), and I totally get the concern there. I have decided to partner with WV in this way is because they are keen to engage in social media (outside of their own channels) which gives me an opportunity to tap into amazing information all around the world to help create awareness, to tell real stories of real people. Another reason is I have made a connection with the people of World Vision and I can see their heart. How I see it, one of the roles of WV is to tailor support for each individual community they work to establish real change.

      It will be exciting to see what comes next in this journey!

      Really enjoy discussing this sort of thing so THANK YOU so much for sharing xx

  3. says

    We sponsored a child for years and years through World Vision, we now sponsor a child in Kenya through African Equity, the main reason for the change is that I know people in the orphanage in Kenya, so I get personal facebook messages and comments from both one of his carers and also our sponsor child. I guess this makes us feel more a part of his life so that he knows that someone crazy on the opposite side of the world thinks he is very very important – if only in a very small way! I hope one day soon to go over and meet him in person… There was an interesting and scarey article on the pending West African crisis on the 7pm report last night… lets hope your post and hundreds of others creates the desire and action for more people to do more to help

  4. Bianca S says

    Great post Kelly.
    Perspective is something we need regularly.
    When I was looking at getting a sponsor child, I was worried that some of the larger organisations have greater expenses, and therefore a sponsor child may end up receiving less of your contribution.
    I ended up going with a Christian organisation called ‘Compassion’.
    If you want, you can even pick age/sex/location of the sponsor child.
    We decided on a girl around my daughters age from Indonesia.
    My logic was that hopefully in years to come, we might be able to visit her.
    My daughter Anja helps to put together the letters, drawings and photos.
    Best of all, whenever Anja acts spoilt, it helps for her to remember that there are others out there who are far less fortunate.

    • says

      Hi Bianca. YES! Perspective! It’s such a special thing to get your child involved in writing letters…I think it helps them to see there is more than just them, and what they immediately see around them.

  5. says

    We ingnorantly have too only listened to the admin cost side of world vision and have not thoroughly investigated where all the funds do go. We had two sponsor children through Compassion for a few years and at the time our boys were encountering an Autism diagnosis we let that sponsorship wain as our medical costs rose. I think it is very much a personal walk as you said. Our focus in what God wants us to focus on may be different for each family. He is leading us down the path of advocating for adoption law re-forms here in Australia. A very difficult feat. It seems we are ‘against’ adoption in this country. I think it would be great for entities like World Vision to be more transparent… maybe social media is more of the way to go and lessen such costs in advertising and wages of the professionals looking after the cause ‘re-formed’!

    Rach xx

    • says

      I can hear your heart Rach. Adoption does seem very difficult in Australia. Do you mean adoption from overseas or adoption withing Australia? My Dad works in an ophanage in Lesotho (near South Africa) called Beautiful Gate and there are so, so many kids who need parents.

      I love how WV is tapping into social media outside their own channels. This gives someone like me (and Eden and the rest of the ambassadors) an opportunity to raise awareness in a very personal way. It’s exciting to be able to tap into a global organisation in an effort to raise awareness. I haven’t really see many other charity organisations doing this in such an open, honest way. It’s a good fit for my blog, and also my passion for mission and people.

      As I mentioned in my response to Cath (above), our family supports many different things. We support a family in another country directly, we have a sponsor child, give to our local church, do random giving as we are led and now, I am also using my social media channels and finance to support WV.

      In terms of admin costs, it’s often a sticking point for many people, and it is a important factor. WV are very upfront about it so I have discovered; it’s easily found on their website. (9.4% admin costs) –> http://www.worldvision.com.au/OurWork/WhereTheFundsGo.aspx?lpos=HP_mid_where_readMore)

      Admin costs are a factor to consider and I have looked very carefully into this and I’m excited to partner with WV because I can see (one of their roles) how they strive to tailor projects very much to each individual community so there is a lasting positive impact of empowerment. Also, they have the set up and connections to get emergency funds very quickly to where it is needed. It will be exciting to see what comes of this!

      I enjoy discussing this sort of complex and important stuff and I love, love, love hearing your story of where your heart is. xx

  6. Bianca S says

    Also, my friend Julz has a sponsor child. I’m not sure what organisation she is going through but she has to PAY a processing fee every time she wants to send her sponsor child a letter.
    With compassion you can now submit a letter online and even upload a couple of photos.
    Great for keeping in touch in between the traditional letter writing.
    Anja LOVES receiving letters from her sponsor child in the mail.

  7. Annette says

    We have a sponsor child through Baptist World aid. You remind me that I haven’t written for a while. I want to do more to help but how can I help?

  8. Nina Downes says

    Just this morning I did a one-off donation to World Vision as a direct result of reading Eden’s blog. If I wasn’t reading her blog I would not have thought to make a donation. I am in awe at what Eden and all the other bloggers out there referring to her trip to Niger last week have done to raise awareness and money. My babies are 1 and 2 and too young to understand but I want to make sure they grow up understanding what a life of privilege they have compared to so many other children in the world.

  9. says

    What a great path you have found. We each need to find our own that makes us feel helpful, giving and part of a better world with so many needing help there should never be debate about who to help.. just do it. There is something and someone for everyone, we just need to look. I feel proud of you when I read this and I hope you know that you help and inspire so many more than you think.

    • says

      Deb, I think you raise a very important point, and I love your article in the link. And I hope many click over and read it. These two lines jumped out at me.

      “Give in any way and to whatever you can. But remember that we need thought and help and charity at home too.”

      “Passionate people doing passionate things are the only way we are going to change the world, even a little bit.”

      I see giving more as an attitiude rather than just a sporadic thing to do from time to time. I aim to actively look for ways to give in all areas: overseas, neighbours and to other causes that cross my path. There is so much need and I am looking for ways to make a difference, yes, even a little bit.

      • says

        Thankyou, and I think you’ve hit it on the head – giving and generosity aren’t an act, they are a state of mind. It’s about remembering how lucky we are and having the habit of trying to spread it around to others.

  10. says

    Since we are discussing overheads, I would love to flesh this out a little more and would love your feedback.

    As I see it, pretty much ALL organisations, there is admin costs to ensure there is good planning, accounting and accountability (to make sure your donation has the most impact) and good donor service (someone to change account details and update address). Here is an interesting post about overheads –> http://goodintents.org/choosing-a-charity/overheads

  11. says

    Hi Kelly,

    I just read your post & an so impressed with what you are doing. There is such a perception out there that everyone is just out for themselves, but so many places now I’m seeing people finding ways of giving back to their communities – be them local or global.

    Compassion, empathy, passion for humanity. You’ve obviously got it in spades. Well done :)

  12. says

    I look forward to this journey!
    When I was a bit more financially stable, I used to donate to children’s charities in Australia – About 5 years ago now I can’t even remember them which is not very good!
    I have never been bothered about admin costs as I think the charity is unable to run without covering these costs and if the charity couldn’t run that would be terrible.
    Cath’s comment above is interesting about sponsoring a child through The Smith Family. I hadn’t thought of that before. I think if I could I would probably do one overseas donation and one Australian donation.
    Even though I feel sad that I cannot make at the moment regular monthly contributions, I make sure I contribute in other ways when I can such as the gift under the tree Kmart/Smith Fam. But I think I could do more.
    Glad you had a great time in Melbourne!

    • says

      Oh also I have volunteered for many years in community and youth centres which is something I am very passionate about. If you are unable to give financially just 1-2 hours of your time a week / a month can make such a huge difference in people’s lives! Honestly I don’t think people realise how valuable volunteering is!

  13. says

    Great post Kelly.
    Congratulations on being a World Vision Blog Ambassador!! What an honour and responsibility!
    I volunteered at World Vision many moons ago and they are an amazing organisation who do fantastic work. I do not have a problem with them having admin costs.
    On one hand I like the idea of sponsoring a child and on the other hand I have issues with it. I also have a problem with WV being a Christian organisation and some of the funds going to Christian ministry. I prefer to put my money to a secular aid organisation for this reason.

  14. says

    We have been World Vision child sponsors for over 24yrs , I am totally behind them for the difference they make. My friend and her family visited their sponsored child in Africa too.
    Congratulations on being a World Vision Blog Ambassador – you will make a difference.

  15. Tania says

    We’ve sponsored a child through WV for 15 years now. I figure if the admin costs are under 10% then the child / village gets $90 out of every $100. That’s great. These organizations need money to run. As long as they remain as lean as possible then I’m happy to continue to donate.

    We try to donate about 5% of our income to those in need.

    We also regularly give to UNICEF especially for Darfur appeals etc. and we were involved in a big fundraiser for Cotlands (an orphanage and out reach for children in Sth Africa affected by HIV/AIDS). More recently we donated a sizable amount to a local family of 4 kids who lost their mum to breast cancer.

    I’ve also started giving micro loans through KIVA to assist people in 3rd world countries to set up or improve their businesses.

    I live by the ‘starfish’ principle. Even if our money only helps one person then it’s worth it.

    • says

      I agree Tania. I think there is a lot of negativety around admin costs but I see it as a good thing to ensure the money does get to where it is needed.

  16. says

    I think you are awesome. The ‘doing’ is where the magic is. I think we all feel deeply about causes and our hearts go out to those in need but for whatever reasons we have (Do we feel like our small efforts won’t make a big enough impact? Do we feel acting now makes our inaction for the past ten years all the more despicable?), we don’t act.

    By taking any steps to act on what you think is right makes you super amazingly awesome. I already thought you were amazing but now you are WonderMum to me! (complete with cool gold wrist cuffs).

    Congrats on becoming an ambassador for such a worthy cause and well done for taking your beliefs and turning them into actions that will help in small and big ways those who need it.

    I think Eden said it best: “I will always believe that Giving = Good. Always. Sometimes, things just ARE that simplistic.”

  17. says

    Hi Kelly,
    I think this is a fabulous opportunity that you and Eden, and all the other ambassadors have been given – and you are definitely the right person for the job!

    As far as admin costs go, I must say, I haven’t really done my research on various organisations… 9.4% sounds reasonable to me – after all, someone has to organise for our money to get where it needs to go, and I know that in some countries in particular, due to corruption etc, that is not as easy as it should be.

    Our main reason for choosing Compassion for our child sponsorship is based on our desire to care for our sponsor child’s spiritual needs, as well as their physical needs. Food, and water, and clothing, and sustainable work etc is important, but long-term, a relationship with God is more important (in our view). That is not to downplay the great work of WV, but just our personal decision, based on our convictions.

  18. says

    Can I confess something Kelly??

    I was a tad skeptic about World Vision, I had been for a while.. I’d driven past their big office space way back when it was brand new and fancy. I’d wondered just how much of the money I raised doing the 40 Hour Famine as a teenager actually went to help real people. And I wondered how the tiny amount of money I raised could ever really make a difference.

    I was still skeptical when I sat down to hear Richenda speak at the Problogger Event last year. I said as much to the person sitting next to me. I loved the idea of blogging for social good, it resonated with me in a way no other blogging campaign or idea had in a long time…. but I wanted to know how much of the support I could offer would really help.

    Then I heard Richenda speak. I saw the twinkle in her eye and the passion in her voice and it made me stop and take stock. I heard how open and honest and knowledgeable she was. There was no hard sell, there was compassion and hope… and from that moment on I was not longer skeptical.

    I will always ask questions, I think it is my duty to question, but I have been so impressed with the World Vision people I have connected with.. and you are right, it is personal, the staff make it personal… and I hope that I can share that personal connection on my blog… just like you.

    Sorry for the essay!

    • says

      Oh Kate I loved this comment so very much. I ADORED hearing Richenda say at Problogger last year that it doesn’t even have to *be* World Vision. It could be any charity. Love love love.

      Wow … I am so honoured to know such beautiful, caring women like you and Kelly and Richenda at al. just wow.

      XXX

  19. says

    Loved this post, Kelly. I love how you’ve summed up World Vision – Honesty, Voice, Heart and Commitment. I have no doubt about World Vision (as my dad used to work for them). I know people question admin costs etc – but I’m happy with it because I know first hand the good work that they do. I also know that in order to get their good work done they need to spend money to hire experts, good adminstrators, and inspiring people (like Richenda).

  20. says

    I’m not a fan of child sponsorship as such… I think it places too much pressure on the focus child, and is a bit of marketing ploy… playing on our emotions etc. It also takes a lot more resources to administer. But I can understand the appeal of having your kids relate to another child. I’ll happily support our school’s sponsored child for this reason.

    Over the years I’ve known people who worked at World Vision (including my brother), who are wonderful, caring people with very strong values, but have a very Christian “missionary” approach. While I know that we’re a lot more enlightened these days, it still reminds me of how places like Africa ended up the way they are – by white folk imposing their standards, expectations and beliefs on a supposedly “inferior” race. Constant praying for the “missionaries” in Africa and being made to feel guilty for not finishing one’s dinner – the scourge of a typical Catholic upbringing – tends to make one cynical! Personally, I support more secular organisations these days – Oxfam, MSF and Room2Read. I especially love how Room2Read seeks a great deal of local input and support to build commitment in the local community.

    That said, I was deeply moved by Eden’s posts, especially her numerous observations about feet. I cried a lot! I honestly believed that her message that “giving = good” was all that mattered. I admire the bravery of World Vision in sending an “ordinary” blogger and using social media to raise awareness. I absolutely admire the bravery of Eden for going! Africa is hard at the best of times, and these were certainly not the best of times.

    I hope this feedback helps. Despite my personal views, the WV campaign certainly hit a spot. I’ll be online to Oxfam some time this week to support their efforts in Niger.

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