A focus on community since 2005

In 2005, I mobilised my networks and embarked on an 18 month, self-funded, well-intentioned rescue mission to Sri Lanka, to assist refugees in Tsunami ravaged communities in the country’s North East. I managed the collection, shipment, and distribution of goods in the refugee camps and continued to support those communities for a further 18 months.

Since then, Zulu’s Community has supported organizations in Cambodia and The Democratic Republic of Congo via collections, fundraising events, and campaigns, including Candles for Community. In Sydney, the focus is on bringing communities together to cook for and feed homeless and disadvantaged communities through Our Big Kitchen, Gethsemane Community and C3 Church.

 

Accidental Aid Worker includes stories of 14 years as an independent businesswoman, marketing professional, volunteer humanitarian, community builder and leader. Find out more about this journey into volunteering and community work and read the behind the scenes stories of Zulu’s Community and these campaigns. 

Connecting people to community

Sue worked on a voluntary basis with a selection of organisations to connect them people seeking opportunities to get involved, be hands-on and to give back to people in need. These opportunities directly support organisations and individuals who:

  • Our personal connections, who are trusted to administer and ensure that funds are spent in the country we are helping;
  • Provide quality support for the day to day needs of children and people in need- shelter, food, clothing, education, and LOVE;
  • Are focused on education, vocational training, and practical skills particularly for young people and women in crisis situations;
  • Are specific, targeted, culturally appropriate and achievable in their objectives;

Accidental Aid Worker Book tour 2015-2019

$3500 raised from direct book sales, cards, candles and donations from Accidental Aid Worker Author Talks. Funds went directly to 4 young adults in Cambodia to assist with living and medical expenses during a time when they were transitioning from orphanage care to independent adulthood.

Candles for Community 2008-2016

Candles for Community was a side project to Zulu Communications work in 2008. Sue was exploring innovative ways to raise awareness and money for causes and communities that were close to her heart.  Over the years, Candles for Community has become a key focus for Sue and Zulu’s Community as a fundraising campaign at Christmas, which has raised many thousands of dollars particularly for Sunrise Children’s Village, supporting children in Cambodia.

In the first few years or running, Candles for Community, the donation component from the sale price was $1-3 dollars and despite decent sales, very modest sums were raised.  In 2012 Candles for Community shop went online, the range of products tripled and the donation component was increased to between $1.50 – $6.50 according to different kinds of candle products.

 $8,000 DONATIONS FROM CANDLES FOR COMMUNITY FROM 2008- 2014 DONATED TO COMMUNITIES. 

  • 2008 – modest beginnings with $250 donated to Hand-up Congo
  • 2009 – $500 donated to Hand-up Congo and $500 to Sunrise Children’s Villages
  • 2010 – $300 to Sunrise Children’s Villages
  • 2012 – New brand, new range and an online shop launched. $1,300 from candle sales combined with $6,500 from events donations, book and dvd sales, donations and sponsorships – a total of over $8,000* donated to Sunrise Children’s Villages.
  • 2013 – $3,000 from candles combined with funds from events resulted in a total of $7,500* to be donated to Sunrise Children’s Villages
  • 2014 – $2,500 from candles was shared between Sri Lanka and Cambodia. $500 was donated to Bruno’s Community in Sri Lanka and $2,000 to Sunrise Children’s Villages.
    * includes events, sponsorships and donations = $16,550 

 Sri Lanka 2005-2015

  • Mentoring for Bruno – the creation of Discover Sri Lanka with Bruno and Discovery Retreat brands, sponsorship of brand and  website development  – April – November 2015
  • Mentoring for Bruno – the creation of Bruno’s Community and logo – July 2013
  • JBS LIU Computers – a computer store named after Sue – October 2007
  • Sri Lanka Appeal for Bruno – Jan- May 2005
  • Tsunami Relief Collection – Jan – March 2005
  • Trip 1 to Sri Lanka – Visiting Tsunami and War effected Trincomalee -March 2005
  • Trip 2 to Sri Lanka – Distributing your aid to refugees -May 2005
  • St Joseph’s College Hostel and renovations – May 2005
  • Sri Lanka Christmas Campaign October – December 2005
  • Cosmetics and Sewing Collection Campaign -May 2006
  • Hudson Musty and friends raise $300 for Sri Lankan Kids – April 2006
  • Paying the wages for 4 tutors for 1 year so that children learn for free
  • Contributions to Easter for the Elders, the girls, and the boys
  • Art lessons and a fun day with Sue
  • $1500 sent to Sri Lankan Refugees – September 2006
  • $150 for milk for refugee babies in Sri Lanka

Cambodia & Indochina 2005-2016

  • Sponsorship of children and introducing new sponsors and 8 trips to Cambodia – for love x
  • Geraldine’s 70th-afternoon tea at OBK – $1500 – 2015
  • Candles for Community –  2014
  • Fundraiser at OBK and Candles for Community – $5030 – 2013
  • Fundraiser – Book Club and Candles for Community -$8000 – 2012
  • Donations from Candles for Community $1500 – 2008/2009/2010
  • Over $3700 in quilt sales for New Hope for Cambodian children since January 2008
  • Private Hospital’s generous $15,000 donation- Christmas 2007
  • Sue’s Christmas 07 at Sunrise – Dec 07 – January 2008
  • $3500 raised in quilt sales Jan- June 2008
  • Quilts made by Women with HIV/AIDS -January 2008
  • Gemma’s Birthday Collection for Cambodian Kids – October 2007
  • $80,000 raised in Memory of Mike Matsushita for Kids in Indochina – July- December 2006
  • Jordan’s $25,000 for a cottage at the new orphanage- September 2006

Australia and Papua New Guinea 2008-2012

  • Brand development, website, PR and training for Great Lakes Agency for Peace and Development International – GLAPD – Sydney 2012
  • Collection and donation of computer equipment for computer training school for refugee women from Africa – Sydney 2012
  • Donation of Cambodian quilts to HIV clinic in PNG – 2011
  • Basketballs to Sydney’s youth The donation story & The distribution story – December 2008
  • Donation of toys and clothes to refugee communities in Wagga NSW – April 2008
  • Donation of Caps to Sydney’s Homeless – March 2008

Cook-in events at Our Big Kitchen 2013-2015

2013 Zulu has produced 10 ticketed events and helped to manage and deliver many more. Introduced to OBK have been over 450 participants, resulting in thousands of meals provided to people in need in our community. Zulu’s events have contributed over $6000 to OBK and resulted in numerous introductions and spin-off events.

    • Fundraiser: Accidental Aid Worker book shower and Geraldine’ Cox’s 70th birthday afternoon tea – June 2015
    • Sue’s 44th birthday celebration challah  – July  2014
    • Fundraisers: 3 x cook-in events for Sunrise Children’s Villages, October and November  2013
    • Sydney Development Circle social and community building – February 2014 – public event
    • 35+Meet-up group – 4 x cook-in events

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Sue is a doer

Sunrise children and I are very lucky to have people like Sue Liu who came into our lives, saw our needs and got off her bum and does something about it. She is a doer, not a gonnadoer. Sue is a giver who has given so much over the years. When I meet people I have a button that just switches off when the chemistry is not there and a button that screams when I meet a kindred spirit.  When Sue and I met my button went ballistic!  She has “adopted” Sunrise and done so much to help us with fund-raising, even when she was unemployed, and has been embraced by many of the children there. - Geraldine Cox AM, Country Director and President, Australia Cambodia Foundation, Inc - and Sunrise Children's Villages in Cambodia

Quality networking experiences

My first experience at OBK was for a Zulu Communications networking event, I loved it so much that I have already been back twice. It is a really fun way to connect with people in a non-awkward networking environment plus, I felt that I was doing something really helpful. I always leave feeling inspired and smiling. The events are very well organised, OBK make you feel welcome and part of something ‘bigger’ and while it is nice to be able to give something back, I always walk away feeling like I am the one who has gained more. I am looking forward to the next event and I cannot recommend these experiences highly enough. - Kimi Anderson

Great idea to combine community building with OBK

Our Big Kitchen is a great concept and lots of fun. Not only do you get to meet wonderful people who are often interested in similar projects, and therefore a great networking opportunity, there is food, glorious food and lots of it!!!  You get not just to prepare it (which is fun when you are doing it with others) but you get to eat as well! Combining a hands-on purposeful activity with a guest speaker, where you learn about a particular project, is a great way to be informed about a project, become involved and raise funds. Congratulations to the organisers, to the endless stream of volunteers, and to Sue and Zulu for organising such meaningful events. Robyn

Perfect for our group to build new connections

As a steering committee member of the Sydney Development Circle (SDC), I’m always after new ways of engaging community and bringing like-minded people together. The SDC event Sue organised at OBK was the perfect platform for our members to build new connections, and support the refugee community through House of Welcome. Cooking together cancelled out any awkwardness, as we had something to do while we chatted with new people. Having everyone stirring, chopping and kneading together helped to create a sense of our own community. The shared activities allowed people from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and experience levels to find common ground, and acted as a springboard for discussions on local and global development issues. I’ve always been a firm believer that food brings people together in a unique way, and our experience at OBK confirmed this. Our members were able to contribute to community, and connect with each other in new ways over food. Sue’s excellent facilitation at OBK helped to expand SDC’s community of development professionals, and we received great feedback from those who participated. - Lila Kennelly

Heart warming events for my members

I felt motivated to organise a cook-in event at Our Big Kitchen (OBK), so that my members could experience a feel-good "give something back" activity. The cook-in at OBK, exceeded all of my expectations in terms of social and interactive activity. Everyone was smiling and sharing warm and friendly conversations while working side-by-side chopping up ingredients and preparing meals. I think the most striking element of the cook-in was seeing the stack of meals packaged up and ready to send off. A most heart-warming feeling! At the end of the cook-in, we gathered in a local coffee shop, buzzing and feeling great that our contribution would soon be reaching those less fortunate than ourselves. I fully support the good work that Zulu and OBK do for Sydney's community, long may it continue. I hope to spread the word and get more good people involved.  If you only get involved in one charitable activity this year, make sure its a cook-in with Zulu at OBK!!! - Neil Scott, 35+ Meetup group organiser

And from participants: 

  • Best Meetup ever!!! Loved it. Truly social, and the giving back is so rewarding. Thank you Sue and Neil - Miriam
  •  Thanks for a meaningful time together for a great reason!! See u again soon!! X - Jane
  •  An enjoyable morning spent with lovely company. Great to learn more about this fantastic charity. Thanks Sue & Neil for organising 🙂 - Pru
  • This was an awesome experience! - Colleen
  • Wow, this was so much fun, so inclusive and so worthwhile. A gold medal M'Up. Super well done. 🙂 – Alistair
  • What a privilege it's been today...to prepare meals for those in need and to be amongst great people :-)) - Jenny
  • Thanks for arranging this meetup Sue and Neil. It was a fantastic morning with an inspirational organisation - Avryl