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Sponsor an Umoja Staff Member for Christmas

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Umoja Orphanage Project Kenya are setting a target of 100 Sponsorship pledges before Christmas. To find out how to be involved see the latest Newletter.http://us5.campaign-archive1.com/?u=27451c8c3723a00be8f99956a&id=a8530045fe&e=d69a26e1c7

Umoja Orphanage Project Kenya sponsored by Rotary Australia

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Disha shares her winner’s trophy

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Our 2016 winner Disha Raval received her trophy this week and this is what she had to say about it:

When I cut the packet open, I was absolutely stunned! I took a long look at it and the first thing that I said was, “WOW!” I felt, for a second, that I was dreaming! I felt (and I still am) extremely elated and quite thrilled to finally have my trophy!

I would like to thank ‘ Sunrise Rotary Club Bundaberg for sponsoring this amazing Project and Ms. Cathy Booth of Umoja Orphanage for doing such a wonderful thing for a wonderful cause.

I would also like to thank my Mum and Dad for supporting me through anything and everything that I do and lastly, I would like to thank all my teachers and everyone else that has supported me through anything I do.

I hope to continue writing as a passion and one day inspire someone else.

Thanks a Million.

Disha Raval winner of Umoja Writing Competition 2016

Disha with her trophy for winning Umoja Writing Competition 2016.

If you would like more information about the Umoja Orphanage Project Kenya please click on this link.

 

The winner of Umoja Writing Competition 2016: Peace Essay

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First place goes to ‘Peace Essay’ by Disha P Raval who is a Kenyan Citizen who is an Australian resident.

Disha is only 11 years old and turns 12 at the end of the month. We are super excited to announce Disha’s entry ‘Peace Essay’ as our winner. Congratulations Disha on your entry.

Here is what the judges had to say about it:

“I think the author really captured the elements of ‘peace’ and what it means to humanity. Some well-supported ideas that kept me engaged when reading.”

“The author has contemplated what peace means. The writer obviously has researched our theme and produced a well structured piece of writing. I believe this writer feels passionately about peace.”

With no further ado, here is Disha’s entry:

PEACE ESSAY

Both in the world and every community, we need to have peace. All human beings share the same needs and there are many ways that we can make peace in our community and spread it around the world. We don’t always need a large group to make this difference. Even the smallest groups can start making a change and spread it to everyone just like Mahatma Gandhi Ji of India, also known as the advocate of peace, who says; “ There is no way to peace; peace is the only way”.

Peace building, conflict resolution, conflict prevention, whichever term you use, sits uneasily within one particular field, discipline, or government department for that matter. Is it development, foreign policy, diplomacy, defence and security, justice and human rights, any or all of the above?

It seems like the more a society advances, the less peace there seems to be. Gone are the days of just sitting under a tree and thinking about life. There’s Twitter feeds to read, Facebook statuses to update, videos to take and upload on YouTube, drama to indulge in, gossip to listen to and spread, advertising bombarding us everywhere. It seems like we’re soaked in figurative and literal noise all the time. Peace seems to have gone by the wayside but it’s very important we have it in our lives because how many great decisions do you make when you’re not at peace?

The issue of war and peace has always been a focal issue in all periods of history and at all levels relations among nations. The concern of the humankind for peace can be assessed by taking into account the fact that all religions, all religious scriptures and several religious ceremonies are committed to the cause of peace and all these advocate an elimination of war.

Peace is very important in our lives and it is essential to our overall well-being. However, this is something that has, regrettably, eluded us for years and years in this world. This world been hindered by war, conflicts and disagreements throughout human history, which has left our world and the many people in it in a deplorable emotional and physical state. This should not be the case.

Even in the places where the guns are silent, there is still a form of conflict going on in many places which is obviously going to have negative effects on the future society and spark more wars and conflicts in this world. The result of not having peace is very common and near to us. There is almost one or two instances of terrorism, destruction, violence, disease and refugee crisis reported on television, newspapers and social media. Despite peace being such a clear concept in one’s mind, it seems to be drifting away and becoming more and more challenging to achieve as individuals, communities, societies and nations. To prevent continued cycles of violence, education must be promoted for peace, tolerance and understanding to help create a better society for all.

There has always been an emphasis on the undesirable effects of not having peace. Nations and alliances continue to shamelessly spend resources to research on new technologies and warfare. They continue arming themselves with unnecessary ammunition without adequate soul searching as to how conflict can be resolved and peace achieved in the long term.

The concept of peace is unique for every individual however, the formula of peace remains steadfastly in the universal teachings of humanity, which have been prescribed in almost all the religions of this world. It is common practice for such teachings to be interpreted differently and negatively to suit different situations. On an individual level, we see more and more instances of people suffering from diseases as a result of not being peaceful.

One thing that is critically needed to create more peace in the world would be seeking love and not trying to control other people. Trying to control people for one’s own benefit will solely cause conflicts with others. Reducing control by listening to everyone’s opinions and hearing what they have to say is going to broaden the approach of love to others; be it a peer or another country. Another thing that is also critically needed to help restore peace is placing peace before power because having peace is very crucial. There are other ways like respecting opinions and beliefs that contrasts the idea to “control” people using threatening behaviour.

In addition, in today’s world, everyone needs to be tolerant. Tolerance in all that we think and do is going to make a difference in our lives and the lives around us. Tolerance towards others is appreciating the diversity and the beliefs of different people. When we fail to tolerate others’ beliefs, ways of being and opinions, the ending results can be ultimately violent.

Lastly, the last point that is very important is seeking forgiveness and not revenge. Where does an eye for an eye lead? Usually, too many eyes are missing! No matter where we live, what religion we practice or what culture we cultivate, at the heart of it all, we are humans with the same ambitions and aspirations to raise our families and wanting to live our lives to the fullest. Our cultural, religious or political differences should not be the reason to bring conflicts, grief and destruction to our world.

There are many things that could be done to make peace throughout the world that haven’t been addressed yet. I think that we should all start on making a difference and making our communities peaceful all around the world. We should start making our world peaceful and non-violent. The little changes that could be made would make a very big and a very positive change to today’s world and could change numerous lives. If we try to make a difference now, then we can change communities for the better in the future. This will lead to a better and brighter future for our younger generation and peace throughout the world.

Disha, this year's winner of Umoja Writing Competition was born in Kenya and now lives in Australia.
Disha, this year’s winner of Umoja Writing Competition was born in Kenya and now lives in Australia.

 

 

Winner of Umoja Writing Competition announced today

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Winner of Umoja Writing Competition announced

Umoja writing comp winner, Disha Raval
Disha Raval the winner of Umoja Orphanage Writing Competition 2016

It’s with great delight we announce the winner of Umoja Writing Competition 2016 is Disha Pankaj Raval with her essay entry ‘Peace Essay’. This entry took us by surprise with its maturity, especially after judging when we realized how young Disha was (she was born in 2004) in Nairobi Kenya. We think it’s a wonderful unexpected bonus that our winner was born in Kenya. She is proof what a good education, particularly literacy, can do for young children.

Here’s a little bit about our winner Disha.

Disha started school in kindergarten at Braeburn Imani International School, Thika, Kenya (a small place north of Nairobi) in September 2007. She finished her Kenyan schooling at Braeburn Imani International School in August 2015.

She has some interesting hobbies including:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Poetry (reading and writing poetry)
  • Swimming
  • Debating
  • Playing the Piano
  • Singing
  • Learning new Languages
  • Travelling
  • Cooking
  • Working with tools and wires
  • Art
  • Drama
  • Exploring Technology

And her achievements so far are impressive:

  • SATS award 2012
  • SATS award 2014
  • National Level Swimming 2014
  • School Math Champ Title Holder 2014
  • School Math Quiz Finalist 2014
  • Highest SATS results in the School 2014
  • Dance award 2015
  • 56 Certificates since 2007

Disha’s Dream Career:

Flying Service Doctor

Favorite Subject:

Mathematics  (and we thought it was English)

How did Disha come to Australia?

(As told by Disha)

In 2010, my family decided that Migrating to Australia will prove to be a better and brighter future for me. After a couple months of extreme thinking, we decided to apply for Immigration through my dad’s educational skills. We were granted the Immigration Visa in around late 2011 and this was a very exciting time for me. We came to Australia for the very first time and I really liked it. Finally, in 2015, we decided that that was the time to move and in February 2016 we came to Australia, to stay for good. The move was pretty hectic because we had to pack up the whole of our house in Thika into boxes and travel about 20 hours to a brand new and developed place with a time difference of 7 hours! It took almost 4 months to get everything packed and ready to go but I am really enjoying it here.

My biggest inspiration is my paternal grandfather. I never got to see him as he passed when my father was 16 years old but I have heard lots of stories about him from my grandmother and I am fully inspired by the way he thought and the way he lived his life.

Disha’s favourite place to write

My favorite place to relax and write my pieces of writing are in the park and on my brown couch.

What an inspirational young woman. Congratulations Disha. Disha’s entry with be posted to the next post. Please read it and comment. We hope this inspires people of all backgrounds and ages to write. 

Please note that judges do not know who wrote what entry. All entries are judged on merit alone. Thank you to all entrants for taking part and helping us to raise much needed funds for Umoja Orphanage Kenya.

Disha Raval winner 2016 writing comp
Disha Raval winner 2016

Help promote Umoja Writing Competition

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We always give this competition plenty of time for entrants to write and send in their entry. Don’t leave it too late though, and miss the deadline. Get working on your entry today. The theme is ‘Peace’ and in today’s world there’s plenty of scope to find a story within our theme. We all want a peaceful world and umoja is all about unity and peace. The small entry fee goes directly to the Umoja Orphanage Kenya Project.

If you would like to help us promote the competition please download the flyer and distribute where you can, your school, university, workplace, gym, library, local book store – anywhere you may find writers. Thank you in advance.

Umoja Writing Comp 2016 Flyer

Front of Umoja Writing Competition Flyer.
Front of Umoja Writing Competition Flyer.

Are you writing anything?

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Are you writing anything?

Anything at all? It could be a letter to a friend (probably not snail mail these days), but at least a long message on Messenger or via email. It could be a report for work. It could be a blog post. It could even be your entry for Umoja Writing Competition 2016.

Get great writing ideas from Australian Writers Center Instagram.
Get great writing ideas from Australian Writers Center Instagram. https://www.instagram.com/writerscentreau/

If you’re not writing, why not? You are a part of this writing community of over 500 followers if you’re reading this. You are a writer aren’t you? Writers need to write.

I try to write every day, be it at work or at home. If I’ve done a lot of marketing and social media at work I’ll take a break at home and perhaps read a good book instead, but I am writing every day in some form (or writing these and other blog posts).

Writing every day hones your skills as a writer. Here’s some tricky ideas to get more writing into your day:

  • Get up earlier. You can even go for a walk first to clear the head (exercise is known to boost creativity). That way you’ll have time to write before you head off to work or get the kids to school.
  • Get a job involving writing (journalism, web editing, marketing – just some).
  • Start a blog. You can write about the things you are passionate about.
  • Join a writers group. Like-minded souls encouraging each other in their passion for writing.
  • Doodle a poem on your desk pad while you’re waiting for someone.
  • If you’ve read a book that had an ambiguous ending write your own.
  • Write letters to your loved ones and leave them around the house so they can find them and enjoy them.
  • Write a thank you note to someone who has done something kind to you.
  • Volunteer at your local club to be the newsletter editor.
  • Enter this competition.

Now all you have to do is choose one and get writing. We’ll give you more writing tips next week and if you have any great ideas to get people writing please COMMENT below.

If you chose to enter this competition. Get your entry form at ENTRY FORM.

 

The Tiny Teacher by winner Kirsten Leggett

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The Tiny Teacher

by Umoja Writing Competition 2015 winner, Kirsten Leggett. Congratulations Kirsten who lives and writes in Tasmania.

It was her hair that caught my attention, carelessly tossed about in the wind, locks and tendrils whipping her face. Her eyes were the colour of mine, like the turquoise waters surrounding my island home. They were not cold like these waters but glistened with the warmth of the sun that turns the sand a bleachy white, much like the colour of her hair. She reminded me of the ocean, free spirited and full to the brim with an inner knowing, as though the tides themselves ebbed and flowed within her being. I am caught in this image until a gentle tugging brings me back to the hustle and bustle of the village market. I am standing in it, amongst it. She pulls me by the hand.

“Come, come quickly,” she urges me in a desperate small voice. “There is a place I need to show you.”

How did she spot me in this busy crowd, bustling with colour and noise? I must stand out, as she does too, my blonde hair shining in the sun within a sea of raven haired souls. Yet I do not feel so different from those around me. Was it the way I held myself in the crowd, the way I sheltered my eyes just so from the blazing sun, or perhaps it was the light in my eyes as I smiled and laughed at the antics of the market crowd. Yet she spotted me, as I did her, and came to me with such purpose that I was not surprised and could not say no to her gentle plea.

This child, she captured my heart in a moment, with a voice like a bird and a tiny hand with a claw-like grip sinking into the rhythm of my soul. She felt part of me, yet not. Perhaps she was from another world this ghost child? Yet she felt real, the skin on her hand so soft, the telling of a life yet to be lived. Mine felt rough in hers in comparison, weathered and worn from a life of work, the planting of things, harvest time and the raising of children. A story itself etched in the palms of my hand. So I follow her lead, keeping in time with small yet determined steps, for I am compelled to know more. Her grip on my hand loosens as we enter a dark alleyway.  Her steps slow and she glances briefly behind her to see that I am still there. I smile as an acknowledgement that I am open to this journey. There is a sense of trust that I cannot explain. She will show me great things this child.

There is a little sun here and the smell of damp rises from the cobbled streets, the noise of the markets all but a distant hum. Soon, all that can be heard are our footsteps, the markers of our journey. We come to a sudden halt outside a red door, so bright it looks out of place in the greyness I find myself in. A gentle push and we are in. She looks at me knowingly and I catch the spirit in her eyes, the purpose in her mission. The door closes softly behind me, a candlelit hall extends before us and there is the smell of something maternal in the air. Is it perfume? Or is it the smell of something familiar cooking in the oven? I cannot place it, yet something stirs deep inside me, a chord of familiarity and warmth.

I step slowly down the hall, one foot with caution, the other with readiness. A zigzag of emotion. The door at the end of the corridor looms. I sense love oozing from these walls, a certain childlike playfulness, and as I draw closer to the end I see the light coming from a gap beneath the door. It grows brighter as I draw nearer, the child still one pace in front of me. We reach the end and her small hand reaches up to turn the knob, seemingly too big for her small hands. She turns to look at me but I can barely see her eyes in this low light.

“Wait,” I cry out. “What if I’m not ready?”

“I have waited and waited for you,” she tells me, her voice soft and tinkering on the edge of tears. “You did not come, and so I came for you.”

Her eyes glisten with emotion and as the door swings open I step through, without further thought, guided only by instinct, for at last I am here, in the home of the inner child.

Did you enjoy Kirsten’s story? Please let her know by commenting below.