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ICAN's Nobel Peace Prize, the 'Uke Squad' and Passing It On

11 October 2017

Hi Everyone,

I am sure, like me, you got quite a surprise on Friday night hearing that the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) had won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. It was honoured for "drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons". 

We are thrilled for them.

ICAN's campaign and the hard work of many others has resulted in the first ever treaty banning nuclear weapons. I’m also conscious that many Red Cross people (here and internationally) have contributed to the momentum behind this campaign.

We hope this important and welcome recognition for ICAN will reignite global action to eliminate nuclear weapons. It’s the only safe option for humanity.

International Volunteering Pilot

Another great outcome from last week is that our international volunteering pilot is now live. We are moving volunteering online, with a new platform for volunteers to create profiles outlining their skills, interests and availability. This means National Societies can recruit volunteers who are best equipped to support what they need. We are introducing corporate and university partners to the online platform and look forward to their feedback.

Partnering with other National Societies in our region on international volunteering gives us important opportunities for reciprocal learning. We’re looking forward to hosting assignments and gaining valuable insights from our international counterparts

Now it’s over to some of our Red Cross colleagues. Thank you for submitting your updates for my blog take-over this week. Here’s a selection.

Amanda Flack, Migrant Playgroup Facilitator
Making new connections through music

“We’re piloting our very own 'Uke Squad' in Coffs Harbour NSW to help families feel connected.

It’s a lovely new initiative, using the power of music to help people heal and connect. Music brings people together by reaching across barriers of language, age, nationality, status and culture and we’re thrilled to have partnered with local group ‘Uko Ono’ to deliver weekly ukulele classes for up to 20 local families, with the help of a Coffs Harbour City Council grant. Our participants will be people who attend our Happy Hearts Playgroup and Migrant Parenting Program.

Stephanie Ney from ‘Uko Ono’ will run our ukulele lessons. She calls the ukulele the instrument of joy – and also the instrument of instant gratification! “It only has four strings, you only need to learn four chords and literally, within hours, you will be able to play hundreds of songs,” she says.

1. Ready with our ukuleles: Stephanie Ney from Uko Ono (far left), with Red Cross Volunteers Jill, Robyn, Megan and Estelle. I (Amanda) am pictured in front.

2. One of the ukuleles that has been painted by a local artist and donated to the group, helping connect families who are new to Australia to our first culture.

To add an extra dimension to this project, three local Aboriginal artists have painted a ukulele donated by Coffs Guitar Shop as a special welcome gift to the families in the program. Alison Williams from Yarrawarra Cultural Centre, Brentyn Lugnan and Danielle Burford are celebrated artists and will be decorating the ukuleles as a way of connecting families to our country’s first culture. In addition, 20 ukuleles have been donated, allowing everyone to take them a reminder of the friends, new skills and memories they’ve made at our Uke Squad."

Ash Watkins, Bequest & Community Relationship Manager
Passing it on

“Talking to people about their Will and what they’d like to leave behind can be a sensitive and sometimes challenging discussion. But when I think about the gesture of leaving a gift in your Will – that it’s someone’s final wish to help Red Cross – I realise how special my job is. These bequests account for one in five of the donation dollars Red Cross receives. They make a significant impact on our ability to help people around Australia and overseas.

Recently, we got in touch with Red Cross people, asking them to share the one thing they would like to pass on to future generations. It’s an initiative to get people thinking about what they can do today to ensure a safe and bright tomorrow for the people we help. Here's what some of you said, below.”

- Kindness
- Human connection
- Opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to thrive
- A world where wild places still exist
- Diplomacy, facts balanced with compassion

What do you want to pass on to future generations?

Watch the video below: