Monthly Archives: May 2013

Creative Sparks – the growth of a local project

Creative Sparks 2013-3

Aware’s commitment to facilitating positive change and empowering communities through creativity and self-expression was consolidated by the completion of the second Creative Sparks program in May 2013.

Aware collaborated with the New Hope Foundation (from March – May) to successfully deliver its creative workshops for local Karen refugee children living in the Wyndham region West of Melbourne.

Building on the success of the 2012 program, this year Creative Sparks again provided a safe, stable and engaging environment for newly settled Karen children to be creative, build self-esteem, self-worth and a greater connection with their new community.

Weekly workshops utilised a variety of art therapy techniques, from music and visualisation exercises to meditation and relaxation techniques, to ignite the creativity of project participants whilst creating a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere conducive to artistic expression.

Creative Sparks enabled participating children to explore their own forms of creativity whilst developing a final piece for exhibition titled ‘My Future Me, Self Portrait’. The final self-portrait piece allowed the children to reflect on their pasts while exploring their future dreams, aspirations and possibilities within their new communities.

Aware volunteer co-facilitator Sarah noted the children’s self-portrait work as a highlight during her involvement on the project as it “empowered participants to visualise a positive future. It gave them the space and opportunity to dream”.

Visualising a positive future is of growing importance among Karen children as Karen people continue to flee Burma due to military oppression and discrimination. Burmese and Karen refugees have been successfully settled in Australia through the Australian Government humanitarian settlement program with Melbourne’s western region welcoming a growing Karen community.

The success of Creative Sparks in 2013 has strengthened Aware’s ongoing collaboration with the New Hope Foundation and the longevity of the Creative Sparks program. The dynamic nature of Creative Sparks means that future projects will utilise alternative creative outlets, such as jewellery making, photography and theatre, to continue to foster creativity, confidence and self-expression among refugee children.

 Written by Louella Fitzsimmons 

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A huge thanks to our dedicated volunteers!


Over the last year we have had over 20 volunteers donate their time and skills to Aware, allowing us to achieve some amazing outcomes. This week Australia celebrates National Volunteer Week and Aware would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for helping Aware grow in 2012 and 2013.

With the help and commitment of our volunteers Aware launched two new and ongoing projects in 2012 – Wool for Women and Creative Sparks.

Aware now works to strengthen the sustainable livelihoods of an inspiring group of Cambodian women, with our project Wool for Women, and we are continuing to build our relationship with partner organisation Dorsu.

Creative Sparks has been a successful introduction to working in the Australian context and has allowed us to engage with many more Melbourne based volunteers whilst enabling Aware to broaden its partnership base locally and see the smiles on the faces of many new participants.

The growing size of our volunteer base has increased our fundraising capacity to nearly double our revenue over the last two years. Tireless fundraising efforts allow us to run the programs that we do, the value of fundraising support cannot be overstated.

Our new volunteer board members have been working hard to develop a (soon to be finished) 3-year strategic plan. The first steering document of its type for Aware, this will allow us to grow sustainably in the years to come.

We have also been lucky enough in the last year to be offered the probono help of many professionals to help us work on branding, marketing, communications, fundraising, internet presence and data management.

Thanks to everyone who has volunteered their time to Aware over the last year. We are a small organisation with limited resources and your flexibility, adaptability and capacity to work within constraints is admirable.

It’s been a pleasure to work with you all and your support is greatly appreciated. Aware is looking forward to continue working with its volunteer base in the future to deliver arts based projects to help deliver sustainable and positive change.

To learn more about Aware and to find out how to volunteer please visit

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Rewarding Volunteer Opportunities

Great news, Aware is recruiting for two new volunteers!!!
We are in need of a Fundraising Manager to plan an take responsibility for our fundraising efforts moving forward. The role will include using a wide range of fundraising techniques as we build our financial sustainability.
And, a Volunteer Program Assistant who will work towards strengthening our volunteer program to ensure that the organisation can continue to grow. The role will include developing induction packs and volunteer professional development workshops.
Applications for both positions close at 5pm on May 29th, please forward CV and cover letter to
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