Photo by Lewis Best
“We’re for more than sun, sand and surf – we’re for Australian aid.”
That was the message of hundreds of Australians from Sydney’s Northern beaches on Sunday who walked together to raise awareness of the difference Australian aid makes in the world – and to raise money to support children and mothers in the Indonesian town of Manado.
NSW Premier Mike Baird opened the walk with a heartfelt speech about the generosity of Australians.
“As Australia increases its response to the Syrian refugee crisis, initiatives such as the Manly-Manado Walk remind us that smaller acts of generosity can also go a long way in helping the vulnerable.” – NSW Premier, Mike Baird.
Small acts of generosity do go a long way. It was the generous response of Australians to the tragic photo of Aylan Kurdi that made an increase to Australia’s Syrian refugee intake possible. When we see generosity like that, it lights up our hearts. We feel the joy of doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. How Australians responded to Aylan was a timely reminder that compassion trumps cruelty and that people have the power to influence decisions that define our national character.
As you have probably heard, the Federal Government has cut $11 billion dollars in Australian aid, bringing our nation’s contribution to a world free from poverty, to the lowest levels since records began. These cuts were made despite the fact that last year alone, Australian aid got over one million children into school, provided two million people with vaccinations from life threatening diseases and supported nearly three million to gain access to clean drinking water.
Imagine for a moment the impact these cuts will have on people living in poverty. Generosity is the cure to Australia’s shameful aid cuts. The Manly-Manado walk was one ripple of generosity. Campaign for Australian Aid is a movement of Australians each adding their own ripple of generosity for a fairer world. Whether it’s meeting local MPs, being active on social media, educating our communities or writing letters to the editor – together we can create a current that will turn the tide of aid cuts, towards a more generous and effective aid program.
When the lead organiser of the Manly-Manado walk Pastor Vikki Howorth, Seaforth Baptist Church was asked why she invested her time and energy to make it happen she said, “We want Australia to be known as a generous and compassionate country and for its commitment to justice for the world’s poorest people.” If you share Vikki’s vision, then let’s get to work. Join Campaign for Australian Aid here.