After the difficulties we’ve faced this year, the devastating bushfires that ravaged through parts of Australia in late 2019 and early 2020 seem like a lifetime ago. However, for members of bushfire-affected communities, dealing with the aftermath of this natural disaster is still very much a reality.
Thankfully, charities and kind members of the community have pulled together donations to help rebuild the livelihood of those affected, and worked together to agree how donations should be divvied out to best benefit each of its residents.
This is Ewingar’s story of gratitude for donations they have received following the devastating bushfires earlier this year.
Nadine Myers, a member of the Ewingar Fire Brigade, was on the frontline fighting the Long Gully Fire for three months. In an article by ABC News, she reported that ‘we thought we had it under control and then a month passed, and it flared up again.’
The fire that followed was nothing shy of a nightmare. ‘The Long Gully Fire claimed two lives, destroyed 44 homes, and burned through more than 74,000 hectares of bush and farmland.’
The damage saw the loss of livelihoods, including homes and entire farms. At this point, the community needed to act fast to get much-needed funds so they could begin re-building their lives as they believed there was very little financial assistance coming their way.
The community arranged a music festival to raise money via ticket sales and during their promotion via Facebook, they came across ‘the Bush Flyers Down Under, a Facebook group for Australian Flyers who share a love of the bush.’ The group ‘raised over $5,000 for the community in just over two weeks’ and contributed much needed supplies to the rehabilitation efforts.
When it comes to rebuilding from such traumatic events, it’s difficult to figure out how to prioritise time, effort and donation money, to ensure they’re going to the place that needs them the most. The festival ended up raising a whopping $75,000, and the decision on how it was to be spent wasn’t taken lightly.
In a move that showed the power of collaboration, the community came together as a whole to decide how to split the money. Resident, Ms Katzen explained that ‘we started off thinking, ‘We’re going to give 80 per cent to people who have lost everything’, then, gradually, we shifted that percentage so that we actually gave 50 per cent to the people who lost everything and 50 per cent went to people who’d lost infrastructure.’
Ewingar came together in a difficult time to come to a fair decision on how to best begin to rebuild after a life-shattering event and are on their way to recovery. Imagine if we all took the time to build connections within our communities and work together to make it a better place. Offering to help a neighbour or volunteer at a local club/organisation that needs the support. Working together makes our communities stronger.
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