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Australian Actor Hugh Jackman Launches New Economic Dev

Monday, 20 Dec 2010

By Brad Stave, VisionFund International, Marketing and Communications

World Vision Australia recently launched a new fundraising programme for economic development projects, which provides poor communities with business skills training and opportunities to help them improve their incomes and build a better future.

The idea for the programme, Social and Economic Empowerment (SEE) Solutions, was conceived after World Vision Australia CEO Tim Costello and World Vision ambassador Hugh Jackman visited a micro loans and business training project in Cambodia from the affiliated World Vision microfinance institution VisionFund Cambodia.
“SEE Solutions funds projects that provide communities with a hand up, not a hand out. It’s about empowering people with the right knowledge, skills and resources to build a future for themselves,” Rev Costello said.

“Each SEE Solutions-funded project is tailoured to the community’s needs and may establish a range of initiatives such as education and skills training, agricultural development and access to finance, technology, and markets.”

The launch of the new programme coincides with the premiere of a documentary, Seeds of Hope, which aired in Australia on Sunday, September 19th. World Vision Australia and VisionFund International, the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision, plan to make this short documentary available across the partnership. To view a short trailer for this documentary visit:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JpwV8_PH1M.

The documentary follows Hugh Jackman’s voyage to Ethiopia with World Vision Australia where he meets a young Ethiopian coffee farmer, Dukale, and works with him for a day on his farm.

“The documentary follows my journey to learn more about poverty and how it can be overcome through economic development. It’s also about the life of a man called Dukale, whose story is truly one of the most inspiring stories I’ve ever come across,” Mr Jackman said.

“With the help of World Vision, Dukale and his community have learnt more efficient ways to organically grow coffee, and have received financial management and market skills training to help them gain a higher price for their produce.

“Dukale’s farm is doing so well that he now employs other people from his community, so not only is he lifting himself out of poverty, he’s providing families around him with the opportunity to change their futures too.”

SEE Solutions currently funds nine projects - benefiting more than 200,000 people - across Asia, Africa and, South America.

SEE Solutions supporters can access a website where they can watch videos featuring the community members benefiting from the project and view progress reports that detail each community’s achievements and challenges.

“SEE Solutions is a great way for Australians to help the world’s poorest people,” Rev Costello said.

“Most Australians would remember a time when someone offered them a hand up to help them through a rough patch. This is exactly what SEE Solutions is offering to poor people: a chance to get ahead and work their way out of poverty.”