Every year, dozens of rhinos and elephants in Namibia are severely abused or killed for their horns and tusks. While authorities are being given more resources and powers to crack down on poachers, the problem is bigger than Namibia itself - it's international. The ivory-trade business brings in big cash. Illegal transactions are happening everyday. Animal experts everywhere are worried about what this could mean for the future of these beautiful creatures.
This is why the Shiloh Wildlife Sanctuary is so important.
It's named after 11-year-old Shiloh Jolie-Pitt who was born in Namibia (side note: remember all that CRAZINESS?? The arrival of the world's "most genetically blessed baby" was causing such an international media frenzy, Brad and Angelina ended up selling the first photos of Shiloh for US$4.1million to People Magazine and donating all the money to benefit African children.) and she recently returned to her birthplace with her famous mum for the sanctuary's opening.
The Shiloh Wildlife Sanctuary is being used to rehabilitate animals that have been abused or fallen victim to poaching. It has specialised equipment, large holding pens and a full-time vet on-site.
Dr Rudie van Vuuren, founder of the N/a'an ku sê Foundation which operates the Sanctuary, says "animals are usually injured in poaching incidents. So, it can be an adult with gunshot wounds, or a calf whose mother has been shot."
Once they have recovered and are strong enough to live in the wild, the rhinos and elephants are set free again.
Poaching is a huge problem in Namibia. The figures are sketchy but local media and government agencies have managed to put together some numbers -
Dr van Vuuren agrees the problem is huge but believes the Shiloh Wildlife Sanctuary, being the first facility of its kind to focus on rehabilitation after poaching incidents, will save the lives of many animals. He says, "last year, 5 rhinos died because no care was possible."
If you'd like to help Dr Rudie and Marlice van Vuuren continue their amazing work, you can make a donation to the N/a'an ku sê Foundation here.
The NRL arena is no stranger to lending its support to a cause, whether it be raising funds and awareness for cancer research or support for former players who’ve fallen on hard times but this weekend, The Wests Tigers and Parramatta Eels are throwing their support behind a cause very close to the heart of this website.
On Sunday, players will take to the field without the usual sponsor logos emblazoned across their jerseys and instead feature the message “Stay Kind” – as they play for the Stay Kind Cup. In memory of 18-year-old Stuart Kelly who tragically died a year ago, taking his life four years after his brother Thomas was killed at the same age in a senseless and unprovoked act of violence in Kings Cross.
And the players are right behind it, “The Stay Kind initiative is a great thought and it’s great for people to be able to stop, pause and just see how their loved ones are and just make sure they they’re doing okay.” says Eels co-captain Tim Mannah, “It’s definitely something we can do more of, I think sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to stop and see how people around us are doing”.
Chris Lawrence from the Wests Tigers agrees, “I think it’s a great initiative, being able to promote this wonderful message and get the awareness out there and obviously promote the vales of being able to respect and stay kind amongst all avenues of life”.
This weekend’s game was chosen because Stuart was a passionate Eels fan and his dad Ralph supports the Tigers but the Kelly family hopes to spread the Stay Kind message far and wide. They say Stay Kind is about caring for one another in family, sport, work and school – believing that as a caring and compassionate community we can help prevent suicide in Australia.
We cannot under estimate how influential NRL players are for teenage boys and young men and with suicide one of the biggest killers of young males, it’s a perfect partnership. Through staying kind we can all make a difference.
To find out more, or show your support, go to: staykind.org.au
If you need help, call Lifeline on 13 11 14
This post has been kindly contributed by Sarah Forster.
Sarah is an award-winning news presenter, a mum and an ambassador for the Parramatta Eels.
She also makes really good chocolate cake! You can follow her on insta: @MrsSarahForster
Sometimes, the internet really is bloody amazing.
A dad from West Yorkshire, England recently took to Twitter asking people to send his son positive messages for his birthday. Ollie, who is turning 9, has been having a hard time with a bully. His dad, Christopher, wanted to make sure this bully didn't ruin Ollie's special day:
Actress Azie Tesfai's kindness has no bounds - literally. While playing Nadine Hanson in the hit series, Jane The Virgin, she has also been helping thousands of people around the world, from Africa to Asia and South America.
Her latest role is that of ambassador for SupportKind - an organisation started by Angelina Jolie to help refugees and provide legal services to children facing deportation.
Since 2014, it's estimated 200 thousand refugee and immigrant children have entered the US alone and 60 percent of them don't have attorneys to back them up. It means many kids are returned to countries where they face violence and even death.
It's a cause close to Azie's heart - her parents were immigrants from Eritrea and Ethiopia who went to the US on political asylum.
A friend of mine - let's call him Richard - recently pointed out that I "should be shouting Oliver's name from the rooftops rather than Winfrey's."
He was referring to English comedian and "Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver.
At first, I was all, pffffff! Come on Dickie! No one compares to Oprah! But then I looked into it, and John Oliver certainly is impressive.
I'm not sure shouting his name "instead of" Oprah's is the right way to put it though. Perhaps, "as well as" would be more appropriate, because when it comes to kindness and philanthropy, it doesn't matter how big or small or widespread the act of giving may be. As long as it's happening, I will happily shout names from rooftops.
So here I am, Dickie, shouting* JOHN OLIVER, just for you.
*the babies are asleep, so I had to whisper.
You can forget about Johnny, Turtle and E! Adrian Grenier has a new "entourage" these days - the amazing men and women at the United Nations.
The actor has just been appointed UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador. His mission is to raise awareness about some of the biggest issues facing our planet today and generate some action. Things like, reducing the amount of single-use plastic that's consumed every year, protecting marine species and reducing our overall environmental footprint.
Just when you think Oprah couldn't be any more fantastic, she is!
Not only has the media superstar given hundreds of girls an education through her school in South Africa, she 's now going to each of their graduation ceremonies in the U.S.
They call her "Mama O". She calls them her "daughter girls." And just like a proud Mama, Oprah is cheering her girls on as they walk the stage and accept their degrees.
The Leadership Academy for girls was opened in 2007. It all came about after Oprah had a conversation with Nelson Mandela who put her in touch with South Africa's education department.
Oprah has spent US$40 million so far in financing the school, which takes on close to 300 students from grades 8 to 12. Some are from impoverished backgrounds. Others are from families affected by HIV/AIDS who've been denied an education elsewhere.
This year, 10 of her "daughter girls" are graduating from American colleges and Oprah is keeping her promise to be there for each one.
Her first stop was at Agnes Scott College in Georgia on May 13, then a few days later at Elon University in North Carolina, Skidmore College in New York and Smith College in Massachusetts. And there's still more to come.
During the stops, Oprah has taken to the stage to give commencement speeches. Perhaps the most important line from her recent speech at Smith is this:
"What I've learned is when you create your work and your life based on an intention to serve with purpose, you will have a blessed life."
During her graduation tour, Oprah has been awarded some honorary degrees too:
So that's Doctor Oprah from now on!
In Australia, 1 person is diagnosed with brain cancer every 5 hours. And 1 person dies from brain cancer every 7 hours.
This week, the NRL community is coming together to change those horrific stats.
Today Show news presenter Sylvia Jeffreys recently wrote a piece for 9Honey calling out the "disgusting abuse" Delta Goodrem has been copping online. She says that "If any of these internet haters came face to face with Delta, they would melt into a pathetic little puddle of regret."
I found myself furiously nodding as I read these words.
You see, I don't know Delta, but we have crossed paths three times:
Scarlett Johansson recently found out she has a doppelgänger - a 72-year-old grandmother named Geraldine! So what did she do about it? Invited grandma G out for a drink, of course!
It all came about after Geraldine's grandson, Reddit user denverjoel, posted a pic of his grandma taken 50 years ago and well...she does look a lot like Scarlett:
They say laughter is the best medicine, but sometimes, a smile is just as good.
6-year-old Ollie Carroll suffers from Batten disease. It's a fatal condition that's left him unable to speak, walk or see. He's in and out of hospital a lot. But there's one thing that makes him smile and that's Ed Sheeran's music.
So you can imagine, the smile that appeared on Ollie's face when he and his family got to meet his "hero" backstage at a gig in Manchester.
The singer heard about Ollie and his sister Amelia, who's also suffering from Battens, through a social media campaign. Ollie's parents say their little boy used to sing along to Ed's music and would stand by the TV watching him. Now, he can only listen to the songs which help him through some of his toughest days.
In a facebook post for Ollie's Army Battling Against Battens, Ollie's mum, Lucy, writes, "Ollie listens to Ed's songs through his many hospital admissions, his songs have even helped him get through brain surgery."
After meeting the musician, the family posted another update, "As soon as Ed walked into the room yesterday and spoke, Ollie's eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face."
Ed spent his time with the family not only giving Ollie, Amelia and their two brothers cuddles and high-fives, but also learning more about Batten Disease.
It's a genetic disease which leads to progressive neurological impairment and early death. Kids with Battens can often experience seizures, blindness, loss of motor skills like walking and talking as well as personality changes.
There is no cure for the disease but Ollie's parents, who started Ollie's Army Battling Against Battens, are hoping, by raising awareness and funds for research, a cure will be found. Until then, their organisation focuses on improving quality of life for kids with Battens and their families.
Ed Sheeran showed his support for Ollie's Army by wearing a red wristband on stage in Manchester.
If you'd like to learn more about Batten Disease, buy a wristband and donate to Ollie's Army, you can do so HERE.
The Promise, a historical drama about the Armenian Genocide has opened in the US this week and has triggered a wave of support from Hollywood stars about the importance of acknowledging senseless killings, wherever they may be happening in the world.
The movie, starring Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac and Charlotte Le Bon, is about a love triangle set in the final years of the Ottoman Empire, and tells the story of Armenia's tortured history - over one million people savagely wiped out between 1915 and 1923.
It has started a social media movement, #KeepThePromise, which is all about promising to acknowledge and remember genocides of the past in order to prevent the same happening again. Some of the celebrities who are making that promise include Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, Heidi Klum and Andre Agassi:
Video: @ThePromiseToAct (Twitter)
George Clooney explains "each and everyone of us must #keepthepromise to fight genocide wherever it occurs in the world" while superstar Cher, who's late father John Paul Sarkisian was Armenian, has shown her support in a video on Twitter. She says, "Hitler said, if they don't remember the Armenians, they won't remember the Jews. We cannot let this happen to another group of people.'
Video: @Cher (Twitter)
Ryan Gosling is more specific with his promise. The actor, who has been vocal about human rights issues in the Congo since he travelled there in 2010, says he's vowing to keep supporting those affected by war:
Video: Ryan Gosling, @EnoughProject (Twitter)
The proceeds of the film are going to a number of non-profit organisations as well as Elton John's AIDS Foundation.
The Promise is due to open in cinemas across Australia in May.
Cody Walker (right) with his wife Felicia and friend Roy Mustaca in Sydney, Australia, April 2017.
Most of us know Paul Walker, the actor. Not so many know Paul Walker, the philanthropist. But his amazing younger brother is making sure we remember just how kind and giving he was.
Cody Walker, the youngest of the five Walker siblings, is in Australia, raising awareness about his late brother's charity, Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW).
It's an organisation which was started and fully funded by Paul in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They send skilled workers to help with first aid and relief efforts in areas hit by natural disasters. From earthquakes in Nepal and Chile to typhoons in the Philippines, tsunamis in Indonesia and floods in Colorado, ROWW is there with project managers, heavy machine operators, doctors, nurses, paramedics and others.
This long weekend, there are #drive4paul events and charity movie screenings of the newly released Fast and Furious 8:The Fate of the Furious, being held in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with proceeds going to ROWW.
It follows a string of similar events in Hong Kong earlier this month.
Before his death, Paul was going on many of ROWW's missions himself, distributing food and other supplies as well as helping medical teams.
When he passed away suddenly in 2013, Cody, who's a trained paramedic, not only stepped in for his brother in parts of the Fast and Furious 7 movie, but also became the driving force behind the charity.
You can learn more about Reach Out Worldwide and the #drive4paul events HERE.
In the weeks after Walter Mikac lost his wife Nanette, and two daughters, Alannah and Madeline, in the Port Arthur Massacre, he found some comfort in little notes written by 6-year-old Alannah.
More than two decades later, those notes would be the catalyst for a book - Letters of Love: Words from the heart published by Affirm Press.
The book is penned by more than 50 well-known Aussies including Jimmy Barnes, Leigh Sales, Layne Beachley and Rex Hunt. Their letters are to their children, partners, parents and in Cameron Daddo's case, to his future self.
It is all about sending some love and positivity back into the community, something Walter says he was bombarded with back in 1996, after the shooting. And as you flip through the pages, the overriding message is clear - no matter our background, experience, age or views, we are all capable of love.
The book's release marks the 20th year of the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, an organisation started by Walter to keep children safe from violence. Since 1997, the foundation has helped close to 2 million children across Australia. They pride themselves on their "buddy bags", a backpack of essential items like toothbrushes, pyjamas, socks and teddies, given to kids who find themselves in emergency accommodation.
All profits from the book go to the Foundation, so they can keep doing their brilliant work.
Below is an extract* from broadcaster Leigh Sales' letter to her two sons:
Daniel, I love that when we approach a tunnel, you say, “3-2-1” and then shout, “ARRRRGHHHHHHHH” for the whole time we are inside it and then dissolve into fits of hysterical laughter.
James, I love that you always shout “NUDEY RUN” after your shower and then sprint around the house so I cannot catch you. Daniel, I love that you think ‘Make ‘em Laugh’ is the best number in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ because I do too.
Most of all, I love that you are MY boys. You are sweet and funny and I hope that you grow up to be kind-hearted men.
*This letter is extracted from Letters of Love: Words from the heart penned by prominent Australians, published by Affirm Press in partnership with the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. All profits from book sales go directly to the Alannah & Madeline Foundation. Available now.
So I'm pretty sure most of us would have a HEART ATTACK if George Clooney walked through our front door with a bunch of flowers...but not Pat Adams!
The 87-year-old kept her cool when the Hollywood star paid her a visit at the Sunrise of Sonning Retirement and Assisted Living Facility in the UK, on what happened to be her birthday week.
"Well, I just thought, 'Ooo, is it really George Clooney?' And anyway it was. And he is a charming man, just a very nice man," Pat told Entertainment Tonight.
The actor turned up with a bouquet of flowers and stayed for 15 minutes. He not only posed for a photo but also gave his lifelong fan a special handwritten card which reads, "Pat, I thought you might like some flowers. Love, George."
This whole thing came about through the nursing home's Wish Upon A Star program. Pat's wish - to meet George Clooney - was printed in the facility's newsletter which was then sent to George.
Pat says it's an experience she'll never forget ...and she doesn't think she'll ever wash her hands again after George held them!
Neither would we, Pat. Neither would we.
They're usually making us laugh in Here Come The Habibs or Fat Pizza, but Rob Shehadie & Tahir Bilgiç are getting serious about an important issue.
The comedians, who are busy with their Straight Outta Compo show at the moment, and Season 2 of the Habibs, have recently taken part in the Save Our Sons Walk in Melbourne, to raise awareness about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Duchenne is a condition that affects 1 in 3,500 boys and has no cure. In rare cases, it can also affect girls.
Tahir and Rob joined singer Johnny Ruffo and hundreds of others in the final leg of the 300 km walk which has raised over $450,000 so far. The money will go to scientific research, clinical trials, medical equipment and specialised Duchenne nurses in children's hospitals around Australia.
Save Our Sons was started a few years ago by Elie and Nancy Eid after their 12-year-old son Emilio was diagnosed with Duchenne in 2006.
A gala event hosted by media personalities Amanda Kellar and Brendan Jones is being held in Melbourne tonight, aiming to raise an extra $800 thousand to reach their target of $1.2 million.
Actress Kate Ritchie is ditching the chocolate this Easter and she'd like us to do the same.
Instead of the money Kate would usually spend on chocolate eggs, she's buying Bonnie The Bunny from The Change Angels.
The gorgeous rabbit, made by NanaHuchy, is given to a child who's been admitted to hospital in Brisbane for abuse or neglect and the person buying it is given a Bonnie The Bunny postcard in return. 100 percent of profits then goes to the team at Sydney Children's Hospital to help rehabilitate kids who've suffered ongoing abuse..
As The Change Angels explain on their insta page, the road to recovery for many abused kids is a long one. They are often brought into hospital with horrific physical injuries. They may feel scared, confused and alone. Bonnie is the perfect friend for them.
If you'd like to join Kate and support kids in hospital, you can do so HERE.
(FYI Bonny costs AU$35)
Actor Ben Stiller has teamed up with social media superstar Jérôme Jarre - and they are doing something so unbelievably amazing, it will make you question why on earth no one thought of it sooner.
The pair (along with a team of others), has arranged for a Turkish Airlines plane to deliver 60 tonnes of food and water to famine-stricken Somalia next week....and they're making it happen through the power of Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms using the hashtag #LoveArmyForSomalia.
It all started with a brilliant, simple and slightly crazy idea from Jérôme - He had just discovered that there are 20 million people in East Africa who have no food, water or livestock and are dying from starvation. He couldn't understand why the world and particularly the mass media wasn't making a big deal about this, even after the UN had described it as the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.
He thought, well, why can't we send a plane over there and give people the food and water they so desperately need? So he made this viral video, hoping to do just that:
After doing a bit of research and finding Turkish Airlines is the only airline that flies to Somalia, Jérôme started the hashtag #TurkishAirwaysHelpSomalia . A few hours later, it seemed everyone was tweeting it, including Ben Stiller. And a few hours after that, success! Turkish Airlines responded with a tweet:
Turkish Airlines will provide a cargo flight to Somalia on March 27. It can carry 60 tonnes of supplies. The airline has also agreed to transporting extra food containers on other flights over the coming months until the famine comes to an end.
The challenge now is to fill up the plane. Ben, Jérôme and the gang say the only way that can happen is through donations:
The money will go towards buying rice, nutritional biscuits, porridge and other food items in Istanbul for the first delivery on March 27.
After that, the plan is to buy food from local businesses in Somalia to support the country's economy.
If you'd like to do your bit to help Ben, Jérôme and the gang help our East African neighbours, you can donate HERE.
If you want to raise awareness about this mission, start tweeting #LoveArmyForSomalia.
It took one crazy idea, some celebrity and social media power and talks with NGO's working on the ground in Somalia (all done in less than 48 hours I might add) to make this happen.
We've seen hashtags trending on Twitter before raising awareness for important causes, but this goes one step further. We're seeing action and it's unfolding right in front of us.
Of course, there are critics who say this isn't going to stop the famine in East Africa. This isn't going to save everyone or end the problem forever. No, it might not, but it's a bloody good start.
Forget sexy. Justin Timberlake is bringing kindness back.
The singer has delivered an important message about embracing people who might be “different” after winning Song Of The Year for “Can’t Stop The Feeling” at the iHeart Radio Awards.
Justin started off giving a traditional acceptance speech, thanking various people, but then he spoke to his younger fans about diversity, being different and owning the very attribute that sets you apart.
“If you are black or you are brown or you are gay or you are lesbian or you are trans or maybe you’re just a sissy singing boy from Tennessee….Anyone that is treating you unkindly, it’s only because they are afraid or they have been taught to be afraid of how important you are.”
He continued, “Because being different means you make the difference. So F*ck ‘em!”
And with that, the singing boy from Tennessee walked off the stage to HUGE applause.
So they read out the wrong winner at the Oscars.....meh.
There was something else that happened on Oscars night and it was BEAUTIFUL. It was SO beautiful, FOR THE LOVE OF OPRAH, we need to talk about it!
Thanks to actress Freida Pinto and food-donation organisation Copia, more than 800 people who would’ve otherwise gone without a meal that night, were fed.
Orlando Bloom recently went to Niger, Africa as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to meet children forced to flee their homes because of Boko Haram. A few days later, he was walking the red carpet at an Oscars after-party. And a few days after that, he released a joint statement with Katy Perry announcing their split.
Only 2 out of 3 of those stories made international headlines... and no, it wasn’t the one about the humanitarian crisis in Niger.
But that’s the story Orlando wants us to talk about. So, let’s talk about it:
If you've read the papers, flicked on the news or listened to the radio anytime over the last couple of days, chances are you've been bombarded with the words:
ANGELINA SPEAKS OUT ABOUT DIVORCE FROM BRAD!
I flicked on the TV today and saw Ashton Kutcher looking very proper and serious. Hmm, what movie was it? I’ve seen all his movies. How do I NOT know this one?
He was mid-sentence:
“….the internet trolls tell me to 'stick to my day job'.... My day job is as the chairman and co-founder of THORN. We build software to fight human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children."
This wasn’t a movie. This was THE NEWS.