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Stories of #GoodChange

December 2023

That’s a Wrap, 2023
Gratitude to You, Good Neighbour!

“It’s been a year full of community, collaboration and creativity as we’ve dug deep to help our neighbours, both here and abroad.

Inspired by the mission ‘to make the world a place without hunger, where people live together in harmony’, we’ve seen enormous generosity from people sharing their time, skills and resources to make such change.

From responding to major emergencies, to helping overcome isolation and loneliness amongst our elders, to extending a warm hand of welcome, knitted blankets, clothes and food to displaced people, to ongoing encouragement, educational and practical support to the communities and children in our sponsorship programs, 2023 has had so many highs.

So, thanks to all our supporters for lending a hand this year. That’s what good neighbours are for.”

Sylvia Lee, Executive Director

Good Neighbours Australia | Executive Director Sylvia Lee
Read on for the Good Neighbours’ team top picks for the highlights of 2023.

1 | Responding in Times of Emergency

“One of the defining moments of 2023 was the immediate and generous response to the Turkiye-Syria earthquake appeal. Nearly $60,000 was raised, which became a lifeline for vulnerable women, children, and people with disabilities so dramatically affected by the quakes.

Meanwhile it was amazing to see hundreds of people mobilise to support people displaced by the war in Ukraine, both here in Australia and also in our Good Neighbours office in Romania. Community partners Blue and Yellow Hearts, the Knitters’ Guild NSW, Kurrajong Handspun Crafts Inc., and Wrap with Love donated Christmas toys, hundreds of knitted items of warm clothing and 2,000 hand-crafted blankets, to bring comfort to displaced Ukrainians.

We look forward to partnering further with these community groups in 2024 to send more warmth and encouragement to our neighbours.”

Josie Bitar, Human Resources and Administration Manager

Good Neighbours Australia | HR Admin Manager Josie Bitar

2 | Connecting Through Creativity

“The Intergenerational Art Project was a source of great joy and encouragement for all our student volunteers, senior participants and staff alike. At our weekly art sessions, it was inspiring to see young and old sitting side-by-side painting, chatting and sharing their lives.

With a view to overcoming loneliness and social isolation amongst seniors in multicultural communities, the Intergenerational Art Project had a deep impact on those who participated.

Proudly sponsored by the NSW Government, the sessions were greatly enhanced by our community partners namely, Sydwest Multicultural Services, Australian Catholic University, Innerwest Libraries, and the Philippine Australian Society of Seniors Citizens.”

Sandy Sandoval, Fundraising and Communications Officer

Good Neighbours Australia | Fundraising and Communications Officer Sandy Sandoval

3 | Welcoming Newcomers to Australia

“Funded by the NSW Government and in collaboration with the Australia-Burma Community Development Network, the “Welcome, Neighbours” website project was launched to assist newcomers from Myanmar settle into their new home, in Australia.

Offering insights into government support and services in Australia and practical tips on adapting to life in their new home, the website also aims to enhance community connectivity with other migrants and refugees.

Our heartfelt thanks go to the volunteers and partners who dedicated their time and effort to make this project a reality.”

Josephine Ramsey, Volunteer Project Coordinator

Myanmar Website | Welcome Neighbours Project

4 | Making Christmas Meaningful

“This Christmas, Good Neighbours Australia focused on supporting and encouraging our sponsored children in Vietnam, by raising funds to buy them bikes to travel safely to school.

Over 80 children will receive new bikes, to encourage them in their academic pursuits and save them from walking up to three hours to school and back each day.

In addition, these students will be gifted a beautifully decorated calico bag, made possible by children from Five Dock Out of School Hours (OOSH) education centre and children at our Creative Kids Crafternoons, in Sydney, who decorated the bags while learning about life in Vietnam.”

Peter Leau, Senior Project Officer – Accreditation

As we reflect on the 2023 year, we extend our deepest gratitude to all of you who’ve contributed along the way. Thank you for lending a hand and making #GoodChange this year. After all, that’s what good neighbours are for.