Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

On 30 August thousands of people will descend on Perth’s CBD to take part in the annual City2Surf running festival. Among the participants will be 11-year-old Jacob and his parents, Simon and Mel.

This will be the first time Jacob (pictured above with his mum) has ever done any long-distance running. In fact, it was actually a school project that spurred this Grade 6 student from Joondalup into action. “We were doing a speech at school about poverty and people, who are less fortunate than us, and we were researching it and I just decided I want to do something – a 12km run,” says a chuckling Jacob.

Each week Jacob heads down to the local park or jumps onto the treadmill with his trusty training partners, his parents, whom he says “are trying to keep up with me!” Jacob is well on his way to achieving his goal of 12km by August, having already ticked 5km and 6km off his list, which “were hard but not too hard”.

“I like to listen to my music while I run and I like to see how far I can go,” he says. “It feels like an achievement for me – 7km is coming next.”

Jacob is taking on this mighty challenge to help children and their families in Nepal whose lives have been devastated by two powerful earthquakes that struck the small Himalayan country only two weeks apart children like Ayush who, while the same age as Jacob, now has neither a home nor a school.

Jacob may never meet Ayush but he knows that the funds his friends and family are donating towards his cause will help “kids around the world that don’t have it as good as I do”.

“It makes me feel really good to know I`m helping to save people’s lives in Nepal,” he adds.

At the beginning of June, Jacob set himself a fundraising target of $200, which he has smashed in just three weeks! He now says he wants to reach $1,000: “I am getting close. I’m already at $700!”

Jacob’s story is truly coming full circle. From an idea that was born in his classroom here in Australia, to a challenge that will see him help other children some 8,000km away return to school. Amazing effort, Jacob!

ChildFund Australia would like to thank Jacob for taking on this mighty challenge to help children who’ve lost homes and schools in Nepal’s earthquake-affected villages.

Two years ago, Juanita’s family were given a cow by ChildFund Bolivia. This gift has not only changed her life, but has also helped to improve the lives of her family and other community members.

To help support her household of six people, Juanita used to earn an income by baking bread for sale in the family’s small, poorly ventilated kitchen. However, this was dangerous as Juanita often inhaled a lot of smoke, and suffered from heat exhaustion and back pain.

These days, Juanita no longer has to work in the kitchen to make ends meet. Instead, she sells the surplus cow milk that her family and other close families in her community don`t consume.

Currently, the family has two cows and three calves – all of which Juanita is able to care for, milk, and breed, due to training she received from ChildFund Bolivia.

“My life is complete,” she says.

“I am a better mother because of these cows, and I am also a leader in the community. I never could have imagined my life would improve so much with the help of just one cow.”

Juanita recently donated a cow to her neighbour Diana, a mother of three young boys. Juanita and ChildFund Bolivia chose Diana’s family to receive the cow based on their needs, their participation in community programs, and because they had enough land for the cow to graze. Now Juanita is able to give back to the community by sharing her skills with Diana and teaching her how to look after the cow, named Cristina.

“I will treat Cristina as my only daughter. I will care for her just as Juanita did. I hope that she will grow strong and reproduce, so that I can also give a calf to someone in the community. My heart is so full and I am very thankful,” says Diana.

It is clear that with the gift of just one cow, the lives of families and communities can continue to be been transformed.