Meet Nikki. A good friend of mine who one day began to listen to her mumma's heart and grew a passion to help the grieving and fearful hearts of other mummas and families currently fleeing for their lives in Syria and across some parts of the Middle East.
We all watch the news and read the papers and our hearts break as we see mothers and fathers clinging to their children and the faces of the children looking frightened and confused. We pray, we watch and we hope because that is all we can do from our homes that are protected by a safe and free country.
For Nikki, she woke the morning of her fortieth birthday and knew how she could make a difference, even if it was across the globe, miles from where it is happening. Read her story and if you want to help or support her in anyway, as you will read how another friend of ours has joined her campaign, then follow the links to her website and that of Jade J. Please help spread the word by sharing on your social media sites or heading to my The Realistic Mum Facebook page and @therealisticmum Instagram and Twitter to repost this article.
"Kindness can transform someone's dark moment with a blaze of light. You'll never know how much your caring matters. Make a difference for another day". - Amy Leigh Mercree
A milestone year
Towards the end of 2015 I began thinking about what I wanted to do for my fortieth birthday coming up this year. A small celebration would be fine but I felt like there needed to be more to it. Something with lasting significance.
Like many people, I had been watching and reading with increasing despair about the crisis unfolding across the Middle East, particularly Syria and the mass exodus of civilians leaving all behind, desperate to reach safer shores. As I thought more of those courageous mothers, fathers and children, I found myself thinking, what if that was me and my family? How desperate would I be and how much would I long for the kindness of others? I had already donated to a couple of organisations but I felt compelled to do more.
I researched a little about what was being done by different organisations and was very aware of A21's efforts.
A21 is primarily a non-profit organisation that prevents human trafficking through awareness and education, protects trafficked victims and pursues justice for them, working with partner organisations and local governments. They have also been uniquely positioned to make a significant felt impact on the hundreds of thousands of refugees that have come by boat to Greece. (Last year, more than 85 per cent of all refugees coming to Europe came through Greece.)
A21 began fitting out shipping containers with fresh drinking water where refugees can wash their clothes, have a hot shower, keep hydrated and be equipped with information about the very real dangers of human trafficking on their journey. I knew this is what I wanted to contribute to.
I began thinking about a sum I could work towards. My heart said $40,000. My head whittled it down to $4000. A much more doable number right?
But heart persisted and won the battle of wills. $40,000 in my fortieth year. Hence I decided to frame my campaign Forty4Forty Campaign.
To someone this number is quite small but for me, this commitment is audacious and it’s completely out of my comfort zone – let’s be honest, galaxies out of that zone! There is no way I could give this amount from my own finances or I would have done so already. But I have learnt over the years when to trust that heart instinct especially when it involves doing something for others.
The power of together
I know that I cannot hope to achieve this on my own. I have seen with my own eyes what can be done when everyday people bring what they have - gifts, time and talent and decide together to make a difference. My very gifted friend, Christian singer/songwriter Jade J is such a person. This beautiful young mother of three gorgeous girls Addison, Eden (in heaven) and Ellery has had her own share of personal heartache with the tragic loss of her daughter Eden and yet she and her husband David continually look outward with compassion to the needs of others. She knew about my campaign and felt strongly to release the title single from her latest album 'Stories Untold' with proceeds from every sale of the single going to the Forty4Forty Campaign.
“Stories Untold was written during a time when I was working closely with victims of abuse through a program our church ran. I was suddenly aware of the many people who had heartbreaking stories woven through their life. I couldn't plead ignorance as these women and their stories of injustice were right before me.
Also impacted by hearing about victims of trafficking, I went home after one night at church and penned the lyrics and had the melody in one sitting. It was how my heart responded to hearing about their lives and how I articulated my eagerness to try to bring change in whatever way I could.
While I was recording my album, I decided to use this song as the title track. My hope was that people would listen to these lyrics and be encouraged to search for those in need of hope and fight for justice on behalf of those couldn’t defend themselves. Sometimes all we have to give is a simple prayer, or a meal to share. Sometimes it means opening our homes, or giving of finances- but every little part counts. People matter. Their stories are important and all we have to do is extend a hand to show them the love of Jesus.”
I am only at the front end of this campaign. I launched it at my birthday a couple of weeks ago and so far I have raised almost $1500. Truthfully I have no idea how it will eventually unfold or whether I will reach my goal or perhaps exceed it. But I know that God is in it because His heart breaks for these people who have literally fled for their lives with just the clothes on their backs and children in their arms and the fear and uncertainty they face can surely be somewhat tempered by the warmth of a smile and a hot shower enabled by the giving of people across the other side of the world. And just maybe it will instill a small hope in them that there is still kindness in humanity.
What does $40,000 achieve?
$40,000 will build and fit out one shipping container (called a Freedom Container) with everything necessary to provide respite to refugees on their harrowing journey. It will also enable A21 to conduct training at each camp where the containers are being installed to help the staff and volunteers working there to identify victims and people at risk - such as unaccompanied minors. Identified victims will be offered help, either in A21's programs or partner agencies.
To donate directly to the Forty4FortyCampaign please visit
Or to purchase Jade J’s single Stories Untold from iTunes visit https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1094175615?ls=1&app=itunes
.For any other information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
© The Realistic Mum
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