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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 September 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 2015 15 difference FEATURE 100 per cent of all funds raised are allocated to the mission. "We started off small but fortunately, people have now understood what the mission is all about, they have seen the work and the progress, they have seen it grow." "Father Themi's missionary work speaks for itself, he is a tireless worker," Jane continues. She feels blessed she had the opportunity to go to Africa and to see firsthand the way the mission has progressed; what was achieved in such a short time. "That is why I've joined the fundraising for the mission, because it's making a difference. When you go there and you see the children you realise that," she says. "You realise that these children are the future of Africa, and by providing them with security and hope, they can dream about their future," Jane said. She says the children can see something happening for them and this is why this mission is so important, how it actually protects the children and gives them an opportunity to dream. "The children are learning about life, about God and the way they need to live. They are learning about love because these young people we met, they do not understand what love is." Jane stresses that the disabled children have never experienced the nurturing of parents. They have instead had to grow up on their own, without the help and advice of older people in order to understand the world around them, leaving it to missionaries to provide them this much needed security. "The mission teaches them about love and trust," Jane adds. "The funds we raise here in Australia help provide the mission with much-needed staff members, it's really providing the heart of this important operation." She says Australians are so far removed from the problems of Africa that it is easy for people to turn their back on this part of the world. "Father Themi makes us confront the issues. He says ‘I am prepared to be there, are you prepared to back me up, I am prepared to spend my life there but I need your help’. "He needs our help to keep the mission and to make a difference to these kids, not to abandon them. I've seen their faces and now for me to turn my back is very hard," Jane admitted. "He gives so much, he is a tireless worker. Quite extraordinary, different. He supports people that society has forgotten. He is very careful the way the money is spent, everything is accounted for. He is very transparent." Jane also calls on the many s Greek businesses in Australia to support the only Greek Orthodox philanthropic mission in West Africa. "We attract the people eople our church you see disabled people, beggars, people with no shoes. "We really need to get behind the work that Father Themi is doing," she insists. that truly need, when you come into disabled people en you c "He is willing to be there, the least we can do is to support his work and make a difference to a child's life, providing them with safety and education and as well as the opportunity of a brighter future. It's only a drop in the ocean, as they say, but we only have to make a difference to one life and that's worthwhile." While in Australia Father Themi will be attending fundraising Themi will be attending fundr events in Melbourne as well as in Brisbane and Sydney, where people will be able to hear directly from him about his work against the Ebola virus and his work with the poor. "In the Pentecostal churches they sing and dance and that might attract people. Orthodoxy is more serious but people still come to us because they know that we care, it's the philanthropy and love that is our mission," Father Themis says. "We don't judge but we offer love and the opportunity to rise up. We never ask for anything back." On this Sunday 20 September is the Annual Tea Party at Functions on Chapel, 255A Chapel Street, Prahran and on Sunday 4 October, 6.00 pm, a small, close up and personal dinner with Father Themi will be held at Cafe Platia 885 Burke Road, Camberwell. Anyone can donate through Easy Donate for as little as $20 a month, which makes a huge difference. To become a regular sponsor, visit www. paradise4kids.org/paypal-donations Nursery class with teacher Fanny at the Orthodox Christian Primary School at Waterloo. African children becoming acquainted with the Greek Orthodox faith. Father Themi in Sierra Leone. Father Themi with the Paradise 4 Kids fundraising committee. PHOTO: KEN SPENCE.
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