Happy New Year to you all!  I hope you had a wonderful, safe Christmas.

I was fortunate enough to travel to Vietnam for 3 weeks and saw some amazing sights.  I was blessed to travel up to Sapa, it’s in the North of Vietnam, near the Chinese Border.  There are Traditional Minority Tribes there who all still dress in their traditional way, which is really very striking and beautiful for the tourists.  But it breaks your heart when you find out that beautiful young girls in these tribes are being married off and having babies at 12 and 13 years of age because their families have no money to feed or educate them.

My holiday reading, which I highly recommend - but which is not for the faint hearted - is a book called, ‘Half the Sky: How to Change the World’ by Nicolas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  George Clooney wrote, “It’s impossible to stand by and do nothing after reading ‘Half the Sky’” and I totally agree.  It’s all about the Human Rights Violation of women and young girls and how, through education, we can make a difference.  I had read a similar book called ‘Sex Slaves’ which I bought in Vietnam on my first visit.  Apart from reporting about the atrocities that are occuring, the difference with this book is it has many great stories of success and survival and gives many contact details for organisations that are making a huge difference.

One such story that struck a chord with me was a story about microfinance and how it changed the life of an extremely poor woman who lived in Lahore, Pakistan, and whose husband would regularly beat her.  Saima Muhammad took out a small loan of $65US to buy beads and cloth, which she transformed into beautiful embroidery and sold in the local market.  With the profit from this she bought more beads and cloth and turned it into a successful embroidery business, even putting her husband to work and hiring neighbours to work for her.  Saima’s husband stopped beating her and showed respect for his wife, who became a tycoon who transformed her family home and could afford to send her 3 daughters to high school and then onto college.

As George said, you can’t stand by and do nothing after reading this book. One of the many organisations that are referenced in the book is www.kashf.org, which is an organization that provides small loans to people all over the world.  100% of the money donated goes to the loanee and you get to choose who you would like to support by reading their profile and seeing how the money will be spent.  So knowing what it is to have a dream and to be living it myself, my New Years Resolution is not going to be to lose weight which is what I normally pledge, and find that I fail, but to make more of a difference in the world we live in.

The second organisation I’ll be supporting is St Jude’s School www.schoolofstjude.co.tz whose motto is, ‘Fighting poverty through Education.’  Which is the whole message of the book, that it is through educating girls and young women that the world will be changed. The school is in Arusha, Tanzania, and provides free, quality education to 1500 children from the poorest families.  Thanks to my wonderful friend Marg who told me about the amazing work being done by St Jude’s.

Now, more closer to home, The Global Good Foundation that I’ve mentioned in the past for their The Minute of Noise Campaign is aimed at letting kids know it is ok to speak out about situations of domestic violence. (Find out more about the Minute of Noise
here )GGF has recently launched its White Butterfly Membership program, which will enable you to be able to assist them in changing the lives of those affected by domestic violence. By setting up a regular donation of $30 a month (that's less than a dollar a day!), I will be helping them to provide The Global Good Kids Camps.

These camps are for children aged 8-12 years of age who have been affected by domestic violence. They teach the fundamentals of good citizenship, moral behaviour and respect for self and others, and send each child home with a sense of self esteem and pride in themselves. It will challenge them through a variety of activities, enable them to do things they never thought they could do, and allow them to develop effective leadership and communication skills. Through instilling these values at a young age and providing long term ongoing support and encouragement, we are providing these children with the tools they require to break the domestic violence cycle later in life, and go on to achieve their goals. Find out more about The Global Good Kids Camps here.

How will you make a difference in 2012?

 

 


Product of the Month

I’m very excited to announce the arrival of my second children’s book.

Lauren feels unsafe at school when Hayden-Reece appears over the wall of the toiletShe goes to tell Miss Martin, who is on her NetworkMiss Martin teaches her class the difference between Public and Private and explains that no one should see or touch your private parts, and that Private means ‘Just for you’. 

This book will help both parents and teachers explain this important subject so that children of all ages will understand the difference between public and private, and how that applies to them personally in their daily lives.

Hayden-Reece learns a valuable lesson that Private means 'Just for You': BK2
Price AUD $20.00 (inc. GST)

 


I am also pleased to announce that I will be selling Professor Freda Briggs new 'Smart Parenting for Safer Kids' book. Professor Briggs is a renowned expert in the child protection field and has written many books on the subject. Her latest book covers Bullying, Cyberspace and Internet safety, Sexual Abuse, Parenting through Adolescence, and so much more.

Smart Parenting for Safer Kids: BKFB
Price AUD $34.99 (inc. GST)

 


'Be Brave' by Karen Rochester is another book that I will be stocking as it has powerful messages that will help children to speak out about things that are making them feel unsafe. It is suitable for children 8 years and onwards, and in fact I will be using it with teenagers in remote communities.

Be Brave: BKBB
Price AUD $24.99 (inc. GST)

 



For more tips and to keep up-to-date with other resources, you may like to follow me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Safe4Kids/118883254812505

 


Safe4Kids Training Programs

Holly-ann provides specialised training for teachers, childcare educators and parents to provide them with skills and practical ideas for teaching Protective Behaviours to children. You can begin to implement this program in your school, childcare centre or home with a basic training workshop - in two hours you can gain enough knowledge to immediately start teaching your children and begin modeling the language, concepts and strategies of Abuse Prevention Education.
  
Basic Training is a two hour professional development for teachers and childcare educators, presented by Holly-ann Martin as an introduction to her ten-week lesson plan.

Classroom Mentoring is also available for more detailed and practical training for teachers.

Parent Workshop is a two hour session packed with fantastic ideas for parents to begin practicing pro-active behaviour and language with their children at home.

Holly-ann is also available for customised in-house training and consulting by request.

If you would like more information about training, or would like to engage Holly-ann as a speaker at your event, please contact her directly at holly-ann@safe4kids.com.au