The Beginnings of Reflection


I love India. It’s unpredictable, mesmerising, beautiful and full of contrasts. You can see photos or video of India and get a little bit of an understanding for this country but you really have to visit India to even begin to see a true snapshot of what this nation is all about. This is my third visit to India and I still know so little about the country.

What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday I was walking across ancient, crafted marble at the Taj Mahal in Agra. Today I’m sitting in a guest room in Parliament Street in Delhi. Outside there are hundreds of unionists taking part in a protest. Leaders are chanting slogans though a P.A. system that’s been turned up to eleven and the assembled group is replying loudly. I have no idea what their cause is because it’s all in Hindi, but they certainly sound passionate. It’s now he middle of the day but the rally started early this morning.

Not far from here, at India Gate, a protest continues against six young men who raped and beat a 23 year old girl on a moving bus travelling through parts of Delhi. There has been a national outcry and there are demonstrations being held all over India calling for the perpetrators to be hanged. One of the rapists has already admitted his guilt and said that he should be hanged.

The events here are being reported around the world, including in Australia.

THE hours-long gang-rape and near-fatal beating of a 23-year-old student on a bus in New Delhi has triggered outrage and anger across the country as Indians demand action from authorities who have long ignored persistent violence and harassment against women.

In the streets and in parliament, calls rose for stringent and swift punishment against those attacking women, including a proposal to make rapists eligible for the death penalty. As the calls for action grew louder, two more gang-rapes were reported, including one in which the 10-year-old victim was killed.

“I feel it is sick what is happening across the country.It is totally sick, and it needs to stop,” said Smitha, a 32-year-old protester who goes by only one name. –

It seems strange that against that backdrop I will be celebrating Christmas with a group of Indian friends later today. As I’ve said many times, India is a land of contrasts.

Girls off the Streets

While in India this time I’ve had opportunity to see the work of SIMaid’s Girls off the Streets project.

I’m amazed at the work that is being done to bring hope and healing to young women who have been rescued from human trafficking. Young women who have been sexually exploited and sold into prostitution are now growing in confidence as they learn to trust again and develop life skills that will give them a strong foundation for life ahead. Girls off the Streets is giving them a future and importantly, letting them know that they are truly loved.

If you haven’t already, let me encourage you to check out Girls off the Streets and find out how you can be part of this project which is bringing hope to those who had lost hope.

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An Indian Adventure


Touchdown. I’m finally back in Delhi.

It’s been almost eight years since I was last in Delhi. It’s a city that I’ve grown to love. This is my third visit and I’m really looking forward to seeing some familiar faces as well as meeting many new friends.

I’m wondering if it will feel strange not cycling while I’m in India this time around. My last two visits were all about riding. Those visits were part of an initiative to begin Bike for Bibles in Delhi. Cycling in India is an adventure, maybe even an extreme sport. One thing that will be easier is not having to drag a bike box around the airport.

Girls off the Streets

While I’m in India this time around I’ll get to see some of the work SIMaid is doing through their Girls off the Streets project. SIMaid is working to bring hope and healing to women who have been released from forced prostitution. It’s vital work and I’m looking forward to seeing how they’re helping to restore lives.

After seeing what’s being done in Bangladesh, I’m confident that I’ll be hearing about changed lives and restored hope. I’ll also hear about the heartache that has marked so many lives. How can trust be restored when a woman has been betrayed and abandoned?

I’ll try to keep updating you with what I’m doing and experiencing but n the mean time please take a few moments to explore the Girls off the Streets website.

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Hope in Bangladesh


I thought I would find desperation but I found hope. I thought I was about to experience heartbreak but instead there was expectation of a better future. Don’t get me wrong, it was still an enormously emotional day but yesterday was a lot different than I imagined it would be.

Where is the hope?

What do you do when everyone you thought you could trust turns their back on you? Where do you turn when you have no home and no hope?

For many homeless young women in Bangladesh the only place to go is the streets. They’re young, some very young, they’re vulnerable and many end up being sexually exploited or even sold into prostitution. Many of the most desperate are those who are pregnant or who have young children.

This is where SIMaid’s Girls off the Streets project steps in.

The past doesn’t have to dictate the future.

Yesterday I visited a centre with many happy, beautiful young ladies who have found care, trust and a purpose. They’ve been rescued from the kind of abuse that’s marked their lives to this point. They’ve found someone who will care for their health needs, help with their babies, give them educational training as well as skills that will prepare them for a far more optimistic future.

I also visited the area where many used to live. An open street side area full of desperate people, many begging for the essentials of life. The difference between those in SIMaid’s project and those still on the streets was stark. It wasn’t hard to imagine that so many more young, vulnerable women could know safety and care if only there were more resources available for the work SIMaid is doing.

Lives are being changed.

The photo above shows just one of the young women who have had their lives transformed. Her life on the streets has become a life of learning skills that will lead to a hope filled future. Through Girls off the Street she can earn money to create a real home for her and her children.

When you support SIMaid, you’re supporting hope and I know that if you could have only spent five minutes with the ladies we met yesterday, if you’d heard their stories, if you’d seen the joy in their faces, you’d become a passionate supporter of Girls off the Streets.

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Brain Vacations

Summer’s kicked in here in Australia and it’s the time of year when thoughts turn to holidays. Tomorrow’s my last day at work for the year and on Monday I fly away. With that in mind, I’m wondering where your mind travels when you start to think about holidays. Is there somewhere you’ve been that you’d like to visit again or is there somewhere you’ve always wanted to see?

As I’ve mentioned before in my post Girls off the Streets, I’m getting ready to head to Bangladesh and India to see the work that SIMaid is doing to rehabilitate girls who have been rescued from forced prostitution.

I know that it’ll be a very confronting trip but I’m also looking forward to being back in India. I’ve visited twice before and I just love the country, its people, the food, the sights. I’ll even be dropping in on the Taj Mahal for the third time.

I can’t believe that our departure is just days away. Very early on Monday morning I’ll be in the air heading for Malaysia on the way to Bangladesh and India.

When you’re thinking about holidays where does your mind go? Is it overseas or somewhere in your own country? I’d love to hear where your brain goes for vacations.

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All I Want for Christmas …

Once again, I’m conflicted. If I’m honest, I don’t really need anything for Christmas. If no one bought me a gift for Christmas, or any other occasion, I could survive. In fact not just survive but continue to thrive.

The conflict comes from the fact that I still enjoy receiving gifts. I love the unwrapping and the excitement of having something shiny and new. I also love the fact that people care enough to choose something for me.

It concerns me that while I’m enjoying lovely new things that I don’t really need, there are people in many parts of the world that don’t have the basics that they need to get on with the daily task of just keeping their families alive.


I suppose that’s where we all need some kind of balance between the giving and receiving of gifts between friends and loved ones and our wider responsibility to those in need around the world. We live in a global village but most of he villagers are missing out. Those of us who’ve been blessed by simply being born in the right place should spare a thought for those who only ask for the gift of life this Christmas.

I might not have a lot of use for a pig but for a rural family in a developing country the simple gift of a pig could be just what they need to break free from poverty.


So where do you buy a pig and how do you get it to someone who needs it? Compassion Australia’s Gifts of Compassion is open and ready for business. Their gifts help people who are battling desperate poverty. They can take your money and turn it into a very real solution to poverty.

You can buy everything from mosquito nets to a mechanic workshop with lots more in between including chickens, cows, sewing machines and a kit to help new mums.


Maybe you’d prefer to buy a gift through SIMaid. Their online gift catalogue has a variety of gifts that will make a major difference for someone who could do with some of that Christmas spirit we hear so much about at this time of year.

Your support really does make a difference.

I’ve travelled overseas with Compassion to see their work and in less than two weeks I’ll be ave.ling to see the work at SIMaid is doing to help the long healing process for girls rescued from forced prostitution. I can personally vouch for both these organisations. When you give them your money, the aid really does make it to those who need it.

This Christmas I do want to receive something for myself, wrapped in thought and love, but I also hope that someone will give me a pig or a chicken or a toiletry kit for someone I’ll never meet.

What about you?

Go on … you’ve thought about it before but unless you let your loved ones know now it’ll never happen. Ask those you love to buy something for someone else this Christmas.

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