Umoja writing competition
Umoja Writing Competition in Hiatus for 2017
Due to extensive commitments in 2017 the Umoja Writing Competition will be in Hiatus for 2017. We will be back in 2018 so practice your writing and be ready to enter from February 2018.
Thank you to everyone who contributed since our beginning in 2014. You can read about why the competition was started at ABOUT. The main reason being; raising funds for the Umoja Orphanage Project Kenya.
We will still be posting writing tips and posts so please keep coming back.
You can still help the orphanage by donating:
Winner of Umoja Writing Competition announced
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:
- Poetry (reading and writing poetry)
- Playing the Piano
- Learning new Languages
- Working with tools and wires
- 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
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.
Entries have now closed for this year’s competition. Thank you to the wonderful writers who have entered. Though the entry fee is small your money goes a long way helping the Umoja Orphanage Kenya Project. Winners will be announced in October. Good luck to those who have entered. Keep coming back so you can read the winning story.
We have to share the most exciting news that the first children have arrived at Umoja Orphanage Kenya. It’s five years to the day that Cathy Booth founded the project. Fundraising ventures like this writing competition contribute to the orphanage. Without these and all the wonderful volunteers the orphanage would not be available to these gorgeous kids who need a home desperately. It’s wonderful to see Cathy’s dream come to life. If you’d like to be a part of it you can encourage your friends to enter this competition. Every little bit helps. I’d like to thank those writers who have already entered, some have even entered twice and donated extra (above the small entry fee) and that is just fantastic. Time is running out so encourage your writing friends and hurry up and enter.
To read the full newsletter about the progress at Umoja Orphanage Kenya Project click on this link NEWSLETTER.
This competition is a small stone in the ocean compared to the other ways you can help the project. You can sponsor a child or equipment for the project, you can even volunteer to travel to Africa to help build the orphanage. So many options to help out. If you don’t want to enter this but want to help just go to Umoja Home to get the full story. The main reason I started this competition was to fund raise for the project but ultimately raising awareness for the project and the bigger things people can do to help is what matters, so I don’t care if you don’t enter as long as you do support the project in some way.
However, if you do love writing – why not enter?
You have the fun of testing your writing skills with the wonderful theme of ‘peace’ and you’ll feel great knowing that you’ve donated to a very worthy, wonderful cause.
I’d like to congratulate Cathy and her team for everything they’ve achieved so far. There’s so much more to do but I know they’ll do it.
And a big welcome to the Umoja children. We all hope you enjoy your new safe home (pictures of them are in the newsletter).
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.
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.
Becoming a writer begins with you.
Many of us dream of becoming a writer. We plan in our head for the time there’ll be have enough time to write that novel or memoir, or even just a letter to the editor. We may be time poor and never get around to actually doing any writing. We can’t just plan it – we have to do it.
So, if you’ve been dreaming but not putting those dreams into action why not begin now with Umoja Writing Competition? Challenge yourself to complete 1,000 words on the theme, peace. Once you’ve set and completed that challenge (and helped a worthy charity along the way) you can then begin to call yourself a writer. Yes, writers do plan in their head, but they also take notes every day, jotting down those ideas with words on paper or keyboard, not just in their own mind, never to be read.
It doesn’t matter how you begin as long as you do. If you wish to be a writer write. It’s as simple as that.
If you have little confidence about your writing you can start with Umoja Writing Competition. Then once you’ve assessed your skills you could join one of the many writing centres around Australia. These small groups supported us last year Stanthorpe Writers Group and Boroondara Writers Group.
For bigger centers:
- Australian Writers Centre
- Queensland Writers Centre
- NSW Writers Centre
- SA Writers Centre
- WA Writers Centre
- Writers Victoria
- Tasmanian Writers Centre
- NT Writers Centre
- ACT Writers Centre
Join a group in your local area to build an enduring network with like-minded people who can encourage your writing skills. You can also join our Facebook community for tips and writing quotes to keep you inspired. If you have a writers group that you would like mentioned on our page please tell your members about our competition and contact us to let us know you have and then we’ll add your link as well.
Meet our winner Kirsten
This year’s winner of Umoja Writing Competition, Kirsten Leggett generously donated back her prize money. She did receive the first prize trophy and on receiving it said, “Thank you again for such a wonderful opportunity to write for others and share in something that benefits those less fortunate than we. I am humbled to be this years winner of the Umoja Writing Competition.”
About Kirsten Leggett
Kirsten lives and writes in Tasmania. A writer of short stories and poetry, she writes for both enjoyment and for a deeper understanding of what it means to be human. ‘The Tiny Teacher‘ was Kirsten’s first short story. Most recent published writing includes ‘Interloper’ (101 words.org) and ‘Pear Infused with Jasmine’ (Flash Fiction Magazine).
Umoja Thanks You
Kirsten is a worthy winner and we congratulate her on the wonderful entry ‘The Tiny Teacher‘. Along with Kirsten’s generous donation our second placed, Denise Krklec also donated her prize money back to Umoja. She said, “I worked as a volunteer in an orphanage in Bolivia, and appreciate how difficult it is to source funding – that’s why I entered the competition – and while I’m over the moon my entry was considered so favourably, I’d like to donate my prize money back to the orphanage.” Isn’t that a wonderful conclusion to this year’s competition!
Thanks also to; our founder, Cathy for the wonderful work she does for Umoja Orphanage Kenya; literacy consultant Deborah Lawrence for donating the winner’s trophy and judging; writer Martin Knox for a generous funding donation; Umoja communications officer Shanyn Limpus for judging and of course all the writers who entered Umoja Writing Competition 2015.
Next year’s competition will be run in a slightly different format (still to be advised). We are considering a smaller entry fee to entice more entries and more focus on entrants considering sponsoring an Umoja Orphan. If anyone has any ideas about how to make next year’s competition a fundraising success for Umoja Orphanage Kenya, please contact me through our contact page.