fbpx

All Posts in Australia

October 9, 2019 - No Comments!

Australia

In the past, slavery and trafficking offenses occurring in Australia were under-reported, but the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has recently seen a rise in referrals. According to the AFP, Australia is primarily a destination country for people trafficked from Asia, particularly Thailand, Korea, the Philippines. and Malaysia. 

Between 1995 and 2006, the majority of child sexual abusers and exploiters who traveled to Thailand, to commit sex offenses against children were Australians.

"Australians were the biggest exploiters of Thailand’s child sex tourism" (Johns Hopkins University)

More recently, reports show that Australian perpetrators have been involved in grooming children online, usually in developing countries. The Australian Federal Police is concerned that the demand for child abuse material is increasing across the country. 

"In 2014 we received about 4,500 referrals of child exploitation material and in 2015 it was 11,000." (Justine Saunders AFP Assistant Commissioner)

And even more recently it was reported that, “The United States, Britain and Australia are the main consumers of child sex abuse streamed over webcam." (spokesperson from the Australian Federal Police) 

ZOE raises awareness in Australia through the media, entertainment industry, influential voices, speaking engagements, internet communities, and encouraging university and high school involvement. 

Our education in schools is reaching more and more students.  We are looking to expand our curriculum and write another trafficking curriculum unit for Australian schools next year. In September 2019, ZOE Australia released their updated version of the Year 10 Geographies of Human Wellbeing curriculum. This is a free unit of work that examines the different concepts and measures of human wellbeing, and the causes of global differences in these measures between countries. Please email Sharon at info@zoefoundation.org.au if you want a copy. 

ZOE also raises funds to support programs in Thailand in the areas of prevention, rescue, and restoration. Stay up-to-date with news from Australia here.

September 20, 2019 - No Comments!

Aus Geography Curriculum

In September, ZOE Australia updated their Year 10 Geographies of Human Wellbeing curriculum in order to give it out for free to teachers at the annual GTAV (Geography Teachers Association of Victoria) conference – held at the Exhibition Centre in Melbourne.

Sharon (ZOE Australia Office Manager) and Andrea (Thailand field worker) were both so happy with the result of handing the curriculum to 100 different Geography teachers from schools all over the state, as well as hearing many positive comments from teachers who were already using it in their schools.

The lesson plans are based on a case study of a Burmese girl who was forced to work in a begging ring. Students follow her story from her kidnap in Myanmar through her experiences in Thailand and her eventual repatriation with her family. This is based on an actual case although some of the details have been changed to protect the girl’s identity.

This unit examines the different concepts and measures of human wellbeing, and the causes of global differences in these measures between countries. Students explore spatial differences in wellbeing within and between countries, and evaluate the differences from a variety of perspectives.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in also obtaining this FREE curriculum for your class or school, please email Sharon at info@zoefoundation.org.au to make sure you have access to our latest updated version!

“Geography, when well taught, allows students to understand their world, and especially how the human and physical environments interact. It is this understanding that will allow them to see and shape their future – to find ways to come to grips with future challenges.”
(An excerpt from Tim Costello's Inspirational Address at the GTAV Annual Conference)

August 19, 2019 - No Comments!

You Hold the Key

ZOE Australia

On their recent trip to Australia, David and Andrea Cross, focused on the theme, “You Hold the Key” as they shared about ZOE’s work.
“We had two main goals going into the trip,” they shared.

1. Prayer for ZOE’s work.  
Understanding the power of prayer, David and Andrea hosted four prayer nights, which saw people from various churches, denominations, and geographical areas, joining their faith and believing for breakthroughs in ZOE’s work in Australia and globally. 

Everyone at ZOE needs protection, wisdom, and discernment as the work 
expands into new nations and continues the fight against child trafficking.

There were several answers to prayers that were seen almost immediately. But importantly, seeds were planted on those nights, which will, one day, bear much fruit in the lives of children who are right now being rescued.

2. Raising finances.
In Australia, the financial year comes to an end on June 30th, so a campaign was set up to raise finances to go towards RESCUE. 
ZOE’s Child Rescue Team's desire is to not only rescue children, but to also empower families and communities to properly safeguard and love their children. 

“You hold the key to unlock the door to freedom, hope, and love for a child who is trapped in slavery right now.
Unlock that door by giving towards RESCUE.” (Facebook campaign)

It was so exciting to see that in the month of June alone, over $34,000 was raised in Australia to specifically go towards the area of RESCUE! Those who gave in June received not only the blessing of being a giver but also the gift of a charming "You Hold the Key" leather key chain made by local Thai artisans. 

Entrust
Throughout the trip, many relationships with ZOE donors were strengthened. 
David and Andrea were encouraged to hear about Entrust’s projects in 15 different nations and, in turn, be able to share with them about how their support is helping to shape children’s lives in Thailand.
Entrust Foundation’s passion is to serve the poor and oppressed. They support individuals and communities living in tough places and see themselves as the link between donors who wish to make a difference, and trusted local partners working to change lives.  

Payton Capital/Payton Foundation
David was grateful to be asked to share about ZOE’s work at Payton’s Gala Night on July 27th with James Morrison (world class musician, composer, conductor). Held at the Arts Centre Melbourne, David was honored to communicate with those who have given either as a Payton Capital client, or via donation directly to their Foundation. Payton Capital also gives 20% of its dividends to the Foundation each quarter to help fund projects that transform the lives of vulnerable people in both Australia and overseas. Payton Foundation is committed to supporting ZOE’s Vocational Training Program and Learning Center.
Rating it as one of the “best trips back,” David and Andrea were blown away by people’s gifts of time, support, prayers, and donations. 

“Even for ourselves, this trip reinforced that we actually do all hold a key to unlocking freedom. Some people may not be able to contribute finances, but ‘prayer’ is one key to opening doors and a good reminder that there is always something that we can do.” – Andrea Cross

May 27, 2019 - No Comments!

Aussie Aussie Aussie

ZOE Australia/ZOE Thailand

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi” are not words I hear cheered very often since moving to Thailand, but during English class this past week, an Australian guest was just the excuse we needed to incorporate some joyful chanting and help make him feel right at home.

Jason Pater is a chartered accountant with a heart for those in need. He is also Payton Foundation’s CEO.  Jason, who was visiting ZOE this week, represents many who have given either as a Payton Capital client or via donation directly to the Foundation. Payton Capital gives 20% of its dividends to the Foundation each quarter to help fund projects that transform the lives of vulnerable people in both Australia and overseas. With the help of many generous Australians, Payton Foundation is committed to supporting  ZOE’s Vocational Training Program and Learning Center.

With Jason’s visit this week, the vocational students had the opportunity to show their appreciation for Payton’s ongoing assistance as well as find out more about Australia. They looked at the four largest cities, and learnt about some of the native animals, sports and occupations.  Class ended with a game that incorporated tasting popular Aussie snacks like honey crackles, ANZAC biscuits, Vegemite and fairy bread and most importantly learning how to correctly proclaim, “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!”

May 17, 2019 - No Comments!

Strong Families

Right now in Australia, it’s time to celebrate families! National Families Week is held every year between 15 and 21 May.  Thousands of people get involved in community events throughout Australia in its biggest celebration of families.

When we read the statistics that nearly half the divorces, in Australia, involve families with children under 18, it poses the question in my mind, “What makes families strong?”

According to Dennis Lynn, PhD, the Family Strengths Research Project offers valuable insights into healthy families. He says, “This research reminds us of six specific areas we can focus on immediately, becoming more aware and actively engaged in strengthening our families.” They are:

1. Strong families express appreciation and affection. They speak in positive and affirming ways and express the love they have for each other.

2. Strong families have a strong commitment to each other. They are deeply committed to promoting each other’s happiness and welfare and show their commitment by investing time and energy in family activities.

3. Strong families spend enjoyable time together. They enjoy being together and know that if they don’t prioritize and schedule time together, it won’t happen.

4. Strong families manage stress and crisis effectively. They are not immune or exempt from difficult days and challenging situations, but they develop strategies so they can pull together, rather than fall apart.

5. Strong families have a sense of spiritual well-being. Whatever the expression of their spiritual lifestyle, there are consistent themes of guiding values and ethics, as well as commitment to important causes.

6. Strong families have effective and positive communication patterns. They talk to each other and listen to each other and may have specific ground rules on how they communicate in respectful, loving ways.                                                               

At ZOE we believe in building strong families. In strong, loving families everyone feels safe, loved, and respected. Parents have a responsibility to provide an appropriate role model for their children and a nurturing environment in which they can thrive.

This week, as Australians celebrate families, let’s keep in mind the six attributes of a strong family and try to implement them in our own homes where they are missing or weak. Let’s also encourage families around us in our schools, communities, and churches. And let’s strive to become actively engaged in protecting, loving, and seeking the best interest for the children we influence; bit-by-bit building stronger families.

Source: Oregon State University (November 20, 2018). “Six Qualities of Strong Families.” Retrieved from http://synergies.oregonstate.edu/2018/six-qualities-of-strong-families-2.

March 12, 2019 - No Comments!

The Day ZOE Changed My Life

ZOE Australia
By Mark Easton

My first contact with ZOE was in 2013 when I met David Cross while on a mission trip to Chiang Mai with my son’s school. David told the group the story of Moses, the first man to try and abolish slavery. In Exodus 4 Moses, confused and overwhelmed, tries to convince God that he has nothing to offer that can help to free the Israelites from slavery but God asks him “What is that in your hand?”

I knew just how Moses felt. I really felt I had little to offer in the way of practical help and was confused about why I had agreed to go on this mission trip in the first place. But David’s retelling of Moses’ commission made me ask the same question that Moses had been asked: what was in my hand that I could use to help?

My skills are as a writer. I have written or contributed to about forty books that are used by teachers and students throughout Australia in their study of history and geography. Each day tens of thousands of high school children read what I have written. I knew before David had finished speaking that this is why God had brought me to Thailand. This is what is in my hand! All I had to do was to convince David.

Fortunately God put me on a work party at ZOE for the next few days and David and I found ourselves working side by side as bricklayers. Over many laughs and questionable bricklaying we eventually worked out that we were the answer to each other’s prayers. God had brought a writer and a missionary together.

Six months later, the curriculum was written, published online, presented at a teachers’ conference in Melbourne and was already being used in Australian schools to educate the next generation about child trafficking and the awesome work that ZOE is doing in Thailand. So now I ask you the same question that God asked Moses: “What is that in YOUR hand?

March 11, 2019 - No Comments!

Longing for Home

ZOE International
By Lori-Ann Tsang

I’ve been contemplating the concept of “home” lately. What are ways we try to make a place feel more like home? In thinking about the structure and physical building itself, unless you are an architect or a builder, your first chance at this happens after the structure has been built and is completed. We bring in furniture, plants, rugs, shelves, and other personal belongings to help us feel at home.  

Long before any plans were drawn up or the first brick was laid for our ZOE home in Thailand, our leaders, planning team, and architects began thinking about this concept of “home.” They knew the building itself would need to be unique and special because of its purpose. It would be place where children rescued from human trafficking could feel safe, secure, and loved…a place they could call home.

The inside is beautiful and very livable!! I love the layout and the building very much. I want a house like this of my own, someday!"

~ Recently rescued youth about ZOE Thailand’s Child Rescue Center

So much planning, prayer, and preparation goes into the building of every structure on each ZOE campus. It is done with love and care, knowing that it will have a far-reaching impact on the precious children who come through the doors.

This reminds me that we have a perfect home being prepared for us. One that is beyond our wildest dreams. “... looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10, NIV).

Find out more about our newest HOME being built in LA: https://gozoe.org/our-work/los-angeles/

February 5, 2019 - No Comments!

Dumpster Diving

By Andrea Cross

Every week in Australia, 17.5 million steel cans are recycled. That is enough to build 900 cars!

Going through the rubbish to find steel cans is not what many of us think of when we picture ways to stop child trafficking but one Aussie man cares so much about the kids at ZOE, and seeing slavery ended, that he even digs through dumpsters to find cans that he can exchange for cash to raise money to send to Thailand.

And as if recycling cans wasn’t noble enough, Tony and his wife Margaret have also organized dinner auctions, barbeques at local markets, sold glow sticks at festivals, and even sold their chicken’s eggs all to help ZOE’s work in preventing, rescuing, and restoring children’s lives.

His daughter Rachael has also given profits she made from selling property, donated thousands of dollars to ZOE, and visited the children’s home several times.

Whether it be cutting 20 kg of onions, selling eggs at their workplaces, or “dumpster diving” (as Tony calls it), this family sure knows how to use every opportunity they have to be an inspiration and make a difference in the world.

Thank you Tony, Margaret, and Rachael! The way you choose to live your lives and the sacrifices you make to help the kids at ZOE, motivates all of us to do more and think about ways that we can use our time, resources, and money to be a change in the world.

December 10, 2018 - 1 comment.

I Can Wash These Clothes

by Andrea Cross

As my family and I left Thailand to travel to Australia this past July, I realized that it was not just people in Thailand but all over the world, who sat clinging to news reports of the ongoing rescue of 12 young boys who were lost and stuck in a flooded cave in Chiang Rai.

Even in Australia, the story was being followed on every radio and television station and it felt like, across the globe, everyone’s thoughts and prayers were focused on bringing those boys out to safety.

During the cave rescue mission, sadness and shock set in when the news came that Petty Officer Saman Gunan, former Thai navy diver, lost consciousness on his way out of the Tham Luang cave and died. He will be forever remembered and honored for his heroic efforts in the rescue mission.

There were many other heroes too, who the world may not remember or even know their names but who, behind the scenes, did their “one thing” to help.

Rawinmart Luelert is a name you might not recognize. I stumbled upon her story quite by chance. Rawinmart has a factory with 14 washing machines and 15 dryers, and a business, which provides laundry services for hotels in her area. When her friend showed her photos of the rescue workers wearing dirty uniforms, she knew there was a way that she could help. Collecting the uniforms of rescue workers every night at 9pm, she gathered a team and worked for 10 straight days, returning the uniforms at 4am after cleaning them at her laundry.

She shared her appreciation for her employees, volunteers, and friends who helped her work through the night to get the job done. One man, Suwan Kankeaw, who helped to wash the uniforms of the US Navy divers said,

“I don’t have the ability to get the kids out
directly, but what I can do is wash these clothes.”

As I read about Rawinmart and Suwan’s stories along with other volunteers who for 12 days prepared 400 boxes of food for lunch and dinner each day… Or who provided foot massages or haircuts for the rescue team… the stories of these people stuck in my mind.

Recently at ZOE, the Next Gen team, who lead our children and youth, carefully planned their camp theme “Out of the Darkness”. It paralleled the events surrounding the flooded cave rescue with the message of God’s love and how He comes after us and rescue us from darkness and brings us into His marvelous light.

There were some powerful testimonies of children who chose to follow Jesus for the first time and others who recommitted to live out their faith boldly.  

At ZOE, not all of us directly rescue children from slavery. There are so many people working in many different teams with a range of tasks, but each of us has an area that we use our skills in to support the work of rescue and make a difference.

Just like Suwan, who knew he wasn’t the one to get the boys out directly, we can take encouragement from him and so many of the other lesser-known heroes, by discovering what we CAN do – and then start making a difference!

August 22, 2018 - 2 comments

Partnering and Impacting

On a recent trip to Australia, ZOE founders Michael and Carol Hart along with ZOE missionaries, David and Andrea Cross, had the privilege of teaming up with the Entrust Foundation to host an awareness dinner about ZOE’s work in Thailand as well as internationally.

Entrust Foundation’s passion is to serve the poor and oppressed in partnership with donors and project implementers. They support individuals and communities living in tough places and see themselves as the link between donors who wish to make a difference and trusted local partners working to change lives.  The Entrust Foundation works in 15 nations with people of all cultures, genders and religious beliefs, to enable long-term change through co-operatively funding community development projects in some of the toughest places on earth.

The Entrust Foundation gives towards ZOE’s prevention program in South East Asia and helps to fund ZOE prevention campaigns in schools as well as outreaches in transient and vulnerable areas such as Thai migrant and refugee camps.

There were so many positive comments throughout the evening as well as words of encouragement about the work going on at ZOE.  The thing that stood out the most though was how impacted the wait staff working at the venue were. They stopped what they were doing and listened so intently as Michael, Carol and David shared. We trust that the message was just as impacting for them too.

It was obvious that not only the guests but that every single person in the room that night got to hear about ZOE’s work walked away excited and determined to see child trafficking eradicated as well as more aware of what can be done to make that happen.