If I tried to count the amount of times I have heard someone say “I wish I was doing something worthwhile with my life” I would be dead before I finished counting.
Call it a mid life crisis, a quarter life crisis, or whatever you like, I guarantee at some stage in your life you have uttered that phrase. I know I certainly have. Many a times I have thought in the past, I really should be doing something more worthwhile than looking after the marketing for a golf course or telling people how to spend their advertising money. I should working at the children’s hospital or volunteering at the Breast Cancer research foundation. But have I ever done anything about it? No. The closest I’ve come is sponsoring a little boy through World Vision and really it doesn’t feel like I’m doing enough.
Sadly it seems life gets in the way and the security of a full time job and the demands of bank payments for the mortgage all make wanting to do something worthwhile seem far to unrealistic.
So where is all this leading, apart from my rambling on wanting to do something ‘worthwhile’ with my life.
Well. I recently discovered a lady who has done exactly that, something not just worthwhile but amazing. Her name is Catherine Bolt and her story will inspire you.
A bit about Cate from her website: www.catherinebolt.com.
“A writer, photographer, humanitarian, conservationist, small business owner & mother of 9. She recently walked away from a successful business & luxury lifestyle to dedicate the rest of her life to building an orphanage & wildlife refuge in Indonesia.”
So after reading that, my first thought was, what an amazing thing to be doing, and then, I wish it was me! To actually be doing something like this and not just talking about it, I think is absolutely fantastic.
From Cate’s website:
About the Indonesian Orphanage/Wildlife Refuge Project
We love children, and we raise our children to love and respect the earth. I’m passionate about children and it pains me to see children suffering in any way. For those of you with children under 5, or even older, try this simple visualisation exercise for a moment:
Imagine taking your child into a crowded street at dusk, walking away from them and never going back. Imagine the fear in that child when they realise you’re gone. Imagine them wandering scared and hungry through the streets…imagine their life now, day after day.
If you can do this exercise without tears, then you are stronger than me, but for 1.8 million children in Indonesia, this is reality. Every night 1.8 million children in Indonesia sleep homeless. For most of us that number is unfathomable.
I couldn’t READ the above paragraph without tears, and I don’t even have children yet.
Some information on the project:
Our program has three different levels:
Orphange/Village – The plan is to establish an orphanage on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia. When complete the village will consist of 18 x 3 bedroom homes, each housing up to 8 children and a house mother. The system is based on effective plans in Africa, where the children are raised in a loving family environment, rather than in huge dormitories with 40+ children to a room. An investigation into the conditions in Indonesian orphanages in 2007 showed that most “childcare institutions” in Indo did not consider the emotional wellbeing of the children to be the responsibility of the institution. The first stage of the orphanage will consist of 4 cabins, increasing to 10 and then 18 over 5 years. The village will also include a school, community centre including a medical centre, and a staff residence. The orphanage will be built using sustainable methods using the principals of solar passive design. The entire village will also be solar powered with rain water collection. We hope to be able to employ local people for the construction and offer long term employment to some of those men for building maintenance and village expansion over the coming years. It is our hope that we will be able to place the first children at the village in early 2011.
Outreach Program – Given the number of children who end up in these institutions due to their families desperation for them to have a better life, we plan to run an outreach program which means approaching smaller villages with less prospects, liaising with the community and through consultation with their local authorities building them a school, we would then provide schooling for the village children, and one meal per day. We believe this would eradicate the need for the families in these villages to abandon their children, and lessen the burden on the already overflowing orphanages. We would also be able to offer medical assistance to those in need through the orphanage medical centre.
Wildlife Refuge & Reforestation program – I’m sure you’re aware of the dire situation in Indonesia at this given time due to the deforestation of the native habit for the local wildlife. This has seen the rapid decline in species such as the Sumatran Tiger and the Orang-utan over recent years. Our program intends to include a conservation program, whereby each child who schools with us will have wildlife conservation as a key learning outcome, and the children will be able to participate in a refuge program for displaced animals. We hope that by getting these children up-close and personal with this amazing wildlife, and instilling an understanding or the importance of wildlife conservation they will be more inclined to carry that with them into their future lives. In the short term, we would envisage providing refuge primarly for orphaned & injured orang-utans, possibly extending to include other animals in future. Eventually we would like to be able to buy up some of the land which has been destroyed by palm oil plantations, and commence a reforestation program to expand the corridors of native habitat that are remaining.
We will be negotiating with existing programs to offer a support role to them using our land and resources, as this is not our area of expertise and we will need direction from those established.
Funding for the Project – We are counting on the kindness and generosity of the greater community to raise a large percentage of the money required for this ambitious project. I have also started a program which will be continued by the house mothers in the village to raise a residual income to maintain the program – this is recycling unused/unwanted clothing and fabric items and making them into saleable fashion and homeware items, such as bags, placemats, quilts, aprons, pillow covers etc. We are also making wedding items from donated wedding dresses (including my own). I should have enough stock made up for a decent stall at the Eumundi Markets by summer (hopefully mid-late October) continuing indefinitely.
Other than that I have committed all the profits from my art & photography sales, and my husband and I have committed to donating 50% of the profits from our small online business also. Long term we plan to start a sponsorship program – as the major foreign aid agencies do.
We will be setting up an affiliates page on the website in the coming weeks, if you click on these links and make a purchase a percentage of your purchase will go to the IO&WR project.
Look out for charity events in 2010!
I think you will agree when I say it really is truly incredible what Cate and her family are trying to achieve.
I applaud Cate and her family’s courage to stand up and make a difference in the world. If you could like to know how you can help please visit Cate’s website. Here it is again: www.catherinebolt.com.