Category Archives: Helping Hands

The Shocking Truth About Landmines

landmine-150x150It’s not an uncommon occurrence to be walking through the office with a file in one hand and a coffee in the other, when your phone begins to ring. The resultant juggling act we perform in order to answer our phone without spilling coffee often leads us to wish out loud for more than one set of hands.

We who live in developed countries often wish for more than we need and it’s easy to forget the plight of those across the globe who only wish for the things that we take for granted.

It’s a shame, but the issue of landmines appears to have dropped out of the news in recent years. Before getting involved in the Helping Hands project I was one of those people that assumed the problem had gone away or at least lessened. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. With over 100 million active landmines in around 60 different countries, there are about 2,000 landmine accidents every month (that’s one accident every 20 minutes). 170-300x199

One of the most terrible things about landmines is that they aren’t designed to kill people… just severely debilitate. 95% of landmine victims survive and of those people that survive, 75% will lose the use of at least one limb. The presence of landmines has a debilitating effect. Not only do they severely injure and kill innocent civilians, communities are often cut off from schools, fresh water and farmland, due to fear of the landmines that surround them.

The truth is we were very lucky to be born in the country that we live in. If you happened to be bo

in another place like Swaziland, Uganda, Columbia or the Dominican Republic you too might have been one of the 300,000 people globally who are landmine related amputees. Your child might have been one of the 50,000 children who have lost a hand due to a landmine. We believe we have a responsibility to help these people if we can.

Most of the places where landmines cause such awful problems unfortunately do not have good health systems and getting assistance can be very difficult or impossible.Helping-Hands-300x214

So what can you do to help?

No one expects you to fork out the $3,000 that a standard prosthetic hand costs in the developing world, and definitely not the $70,000 it can cost in Sydney, but you can so easily change someone’s life forever by being involved with our Helping Hands Team Building Activity. For just a tiny fraction of the cost of a prosthetic hand here, you can build with your team a hand that will be sent to someone who is struggling to live day to day without one. With no cost to them!

Not only does this activity change the life of an amputee, it more often than not changes the lives of the teams who build the hands. We’ve witnessed individuals be moved to tears by the gravity of what they are taking part in. We’ve also been excited to see the renewed purpose and focus people find in the work they do.

We are so excited about this activity and the change it can bring to someone’s life. If your company is currently considering running a team building or training activity why not consider running this activity at your workplace!

Making a difference in Cambodia

Recently, a representative from the Ellen Meadows Foundation, shared this video with me.

It shows in human terms the amazing impact that each of our clients is having when they get involved in the Helping Hands Program.

This video shows the immediate joy in the faces of people who receive the hands that our participants build. It shows how thrilled people are at just being able to do essential tasks a little bit better than they otherwise would be able to. There is no concern of appearance or awkwardness at the time they are receiving the hand.

This (fabulous) video was produced by Karmina Landicho, a student at CSU Fullerton and we hope that you all enjoy it.

Recognition of Organisational Participants

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the groups and organisations that have been involved involved with this exciting program so far this year. All these organisations have helped change the lives of landmine amputees around the world and we wanted to take this opportunity to recognise them.

Listed below are all the organisations that have already committed to get involved in our Helping Hands Program. This includes both organisations who have already conducted the activity or have committed to an event for later in the year:

  • Ausure Insurance Brokers
  • Catholic Education Office Sydney
  • City of Stonnington
  • Community of Christ
  • Eraring Energy
  • Hassad Australia
  • Human Synergy
  • Jackateam Pty Ltd
  • Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre
  • Presbyterian Ladies College
  • Programmed
  • REA Group
  • Rotary Club of Albany East
  • Southern General Practice Network
  • SIRTeX
  • The Good Change Company
  • UNSW School of Taxation and Business Law
  • World Vision


We would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank all of the organisations who have had the courage, vision and social responsibility to get involved in this program so far. Together we have already given a helping hand to 182 people and will be building at least 270 hands before the end of the year!!!


Media Corner

Ch10pic4-resized1-300x187We are excited by how much media attention the Helping Hands activity has been receiving lately. It is really encouraging to see that everyone that has experienced this activity is eager to share it with as many people as they can. Check out our latest coverage:

  • Most recently the Body Sphere program on ABC Radio National featured the Helping Hands activity. If you’d like to listen to the segment, check out the following link to the podcast:

  • Channel 10 Breakfast: 10 September 2012

  • Radio 612 ABC Brisbane – 16 April 2012

  • Insurance Online- 3 September:

  • AUSURE News- 28 August,-building-hands-for-landmine-victim

  • Human Capital Magazine Online- 30 April 2012

  • Maranomail- 25 April 2012

  • The Western Weekender- 7 September 2012
  • City News in Brisbane- 10 May 2012
  • Canberra Weekly- 17 May 2012
  • MX Sydney- 4 May 2012
  • Northern District Times- 4 September 2012
  • Western Suburbs Weekly- 4 September 2012
  • The Post- August 18 2012
  • Rex magazine
  • Radio 2UE
  • Radio Goolarri Media
  • Radio 4BC
  • Radio ABC Newcastle
  • Radio ABC Albany

This is only a sample of the coverage this activity has received in just 5 months. It is exciting to see that momentum is building and that word is getting out there about this inspiring experience. With more people learning about this everyday, this activity is growing from strength to strength!


By now you know how much we at HC love the Helping Hands team building activty. So we thought we would ask some recent participants of Helping Hands to share their views on this unique experience. Read below to find out their thoughts and feelings about the activity:

“Thank you! It really was a fabulous day and the highlight for me being the team building activity. WV-picture-1-300x192I hope we can build on the momentum and enthusiasm in FY13.” – Jac, World Vision

“It was great to have something tangible at the end of it, and to work towards a worthy cause, rather than an arbitrary objective like some trainings!!”- Julia, World Vision

“We had a really great day, everyone loved the team building activity and thought it was the highlight of the day.”- Jodie, World Vision

A unique idea for your Christmas function

iStock_000010877976_ExtraSmall-228x300The Helping Hands Program is not just a fantastic idea for your next conference, it might be that unique idea you’re looking for this Christmas!

Office Christmas parties are a great way for companies to show their appreciation to their employees that have worked hard all year. Often the staff Christmas party is a time to celebrate accomplishments and socialise with workmates in a fun and relaxed environment.

Why not make the Christmas dinner or lunch this year extra special by including an activity which is not only fun and memorable but that will also help change someone’s life on the other side of the world? The Helping Hands activity is the perfect idea to include in this year

Editorial: Introducing “Divestism”

iStock_000017716462_ExtraSmall1-300x225I believe that our society is at the start of a fundamental shift in the way that we see ownership and the world in general. It is a shift that has already begun to influence people at work and will likely do so for many years to come. However, it’s not just a shift in the way that we see our workplaces, but also our physical possessions, our environment and our relationships. I call it “Divestism” and it goes to the heart of how our world is beginning to change its views on ownership.

Nineteen years ago I bought a Lenny Kravitz album. It was only about the tenth CD that I had ever owned and I LOVED it. So did a couple of my friends and one day one of them borrowed the album, left it on his dashboard in the sun and overnight the CD was ruined. Although I loved the album, I had also listened to it hundreds of times and I simply could not afford to replace it (CD’s were more expensive back then) and to this day I have never bought a replacement copy of that specific album. Sometimes owning stuff isn’t all that it cracked up to be.

I have just purchased an Apple TV. It’s an amazing device. For those who have not seen one, it’s a very small box that you plug into your television. It also connects to your wireless internet basically enables you to download and watch any movie, TV show or music that’s ever been made and stream it to your television. You have to pay for the privilege of course but this little box effectively makes your local video shop redundant. Perhaps the thing that makes me most excited about my new toy is the fact that if I buy something on my Apple TV it is immediately available on my iPhone, iPad and computer via iTunes. I still own all the videos and music that I’ve bought but I don’t own anything that I can physically hold in my hands. In the past, this might have been seen as a limitation, but as I look at the big pile of DVDs under my TV taking up space I can’t help but challenge that assumption.

The fact is that the vast majority of kids these days will never experience the sadness of losing a CD like the one I did (and not just because they don’t listen to Lenny Kravitz anymore). Every CD they buy will be stored in the “cloud” and be instantly accessible for the rest of their lives. They’ll be immune from the impact of changes in technology, scratched records and even hot car dashboards. Although they won’t own a physical asset like we did, they will also be free from the burden of those assets. CDs and DVDs are just the beginning of this trend. People are doing way more than just storing their movies in the “cloud”. As the internet gets faster, it is becoming possible to access software and do some seriously powerful computing remotely. There will come a time (in the not so distant future) where we will no longer need to configure all our software on our local computers or even download those pesky updates. In fact some futurists suggest that the concept of a Personal Computer will become redundant relatively soon due to this technology. You remember… that thing that transformed the last couple of decades… it’ll become ancient history soon!iStock_000016618767_ExtraSmall1-300x198

Now before you think that this trend is confined to the technology and entertainment sector, lets consider two of the holy grails of ownership… the family home and car. If you’re like me, you owe a small fortune on your home. Most of us were raised to aspire to home ownership and worked hard to achieve that goal. However, we were also raised to assume perpetual double-digit growth in the value of that home and our expectations just haven’t been realised. Yet the mortgage still has to be paid. I still love owning my own home and have no regrets about buying it. However, the fact is, more people nowadays are starting to take a different perspective. A recent survey in Mortgage Magazine recently published a survey that showed 52% of first home buyers saying that they would consider being a life-long renter. Similarly, although owning a car was never seen as an investment, it was seen as core to a western way of life. It enabled our independence, it meant we could go anywhere at any time. For most of us it still does. However, have you noticed recently the number of share car spaces located throughout our cities and most populated suburbs. People are even beginning to change their attitudes towards owning a car. Most people aren’t abandoning their cars altogether but there are certainly a number of people that are choosing a share car scheme for their second car and when husband and wife are needing to travel in different directions, they just borrow a share car for a few hours.

The trend towards “Divestism” isn’t just confined to the physical world. Lets get a bit more personal and talk about relationships. Not only will kids nowadays NEVER lose touch with their schoolmates thanks to Facebook and similar websites, but they can keep in touch without physically going to a school reunion or coffee with a friend. The basis of many of their relationships will be fundamentally intangible. Yet in many ways their relationships will be more productive and connected than the generations that have gone before them. The way relationships are changing is at the essence of “Divestism”. Not convinced that relationships have changed in the last decade? Lets consider for a second that the whole meaning of the term “friend” has evolved from being a noun to both a verb and a noun. To “friend” someone on Facebook has a very real meaning to anyone who is active on social networking and not only can you friend someone easily nowadays but you can also defriend them with the click of your mouse. This might seem fickle to some but social networking has fundamentally changed the way people see relationships. This is best illustrated by the social trend that to “make a relationship official” almost universally refers to updating your relationship status on Facebook nowadays. The immaterial or insubstantive is becoming increasingly important to people as the trend towards”Divestism”continues.

iStock_000020062111_ExtraSmall-300x220So how could “Divestism” have permeated so many parts of our lives without impacting on our workplaces? The fact is it has already had a major impact on the way people see employment, their workplace and their manager. Nowadays employees are looking for more than money and job security. They are looking for challenge, for a sense of purpose and for autonomy. If employees don’t find what they are looking for from their employer they are more confident to leave their workplaces and find another job. Better still, they are willing to work casually, to work for themselves, to have multiple jobs or even invent their own jobs via the internet (or something else that hasn’t been invented yet).

None of these workplace changes are new. The vast majority of business leaders have all acknowledged all of the trends that I’ve referenced above. However, I would argue that most have fundamentally misdiagnosed the problem. “Divestism” is a game-changer. It’s a trend that cannot be stopped and businesses that do not fundamentally change the way they do business as a result will be putting themselves in a precarious position. To assume that skills shortages will lessen with the ebbs and flows of the economic cycle, that you can retain employees by ensuring that you give out salary increases greater than inflation, or that you can negotiate outcomes with unions that will universally be accepted might all be good precautions to take. However, these measures are necessary without being sufficient. In order to retain employees, workplaces need to engage with their people on a deeper level. They need to get beyond the material and understand what truly drives their people. They also need to listen to what they learn.

When you think about it, the very terms “Human Resources” or “Human Capital” imply a sense of false ownership. They imply that people are assets that are owned just like the rest of the company’s physical assets. I understand that this has been an incredibly useful metaphor over the past 40 years. It’s helped HR folk justify investment in valuable programs or initiatives. However, although these are both relatively modern terms, they still hark back to the days when people would follow instructions unquestioningly, when lifelong employment was a goal for most people and when people would cope with significant hardships in order to achieve that goal.

If “Divestism” continues at the rate I believe it is travelling, then companies that cling to the notion of people as assets or resources will be left behind. In the future, companies must accept that people will weave in and out of employment with them; that they never truly own their employees and realign their people-related investments accordingly. The companies that truly realign their people systems with the concept of “Divestism” will not necessarily adopt a “retain at all costs” mentality to their people. When their employees part ways with their employer, progressive companies will see this as the first step in attracting them back. They might even support past employees in pursuing their goals outside of employment under some circumstances. The lines between employee, customer, spokesperson, advocate, sponsor and supplier are also likely to blur further with people-related investments justified beyond traditional departmental boundaries. Future editions of our newsletter will explore the specific implications of “Divestism” for business. However, needless to say its implications are broad.

The core of “Divestism”, as I define it, is that at this time in the world’s history, the less obvious, the subjective and intangible aspects of the world, are becoming more highly valued than they ever have been before. Ownership is clearly less valued and perceived as a burden to some. It’s an exciting time to be alive, but it’s also a risky time to hold onto old paradigms whilst running a business.

This edition of our newsletter is dedicated to our Helping Hands Program. This program is truly paradigm shifting in blending Corporate Social Responsibility with Human Resources. It enables employees, customers and other stakeholders to experience what it is to be engaged a truly purposeful activity and in doing so, enables them to reconnect with their company’s purpose. This activity might challenge your current paradigms on a number of levels, but as I’ve already stated, we’re living in an exciting time where big changes are not only possible, they are imperative. Enjoy this special edition of our newsletter and as you do so I encourage you to consider this new concept of “Divestism” and how it is likely to impact on your personal and work life.


Matt Henricks is the Director of HC. He is an Organisational Psychologist with 12 years experience working in HR or related fields. Matt has consulted with many of Australia

WEFTshop – one organisation making a difference

Since introducing the Helping Hands team building activity, our eyes have been increasingly openned to the level of need in many disadvantaged communities around the world. Wherever possible, within our newsletters from now on, we will be taking the opportunity to highlight some of the organisations that are trying to make a difference. WEFTshop is one such organisation.


WEFTshop is a volunteer based not-for-profit organisation committed to supporting refugee women from Burma living on the border with Thailand by developing their skills as textile artisans so they can access a fair wage. They work hand-in-hand with refugee artisans to create contemporary designs that feature their unique skills and textiles.


WEFTshop products include scarves, bags, cushions, purse, dolls, dresses, table-runners and table throws and feature their unique appliqué, metal beadwork and back-strap weaving. Handicrafts are one of the few ways to earn money safely in this environment where fundamental human rights such as the right and freedom to work and travel are largely denied.


WEFTshop products can be obtained online at : www.theshopforchange or for a wider selection via the Newtown markets every Saturday from 10:30-5:30 (280a King st , Newtown. Opposite the Dendy on King st).

Come and visit us at the AHRI conference!

Please join us at the AHRI HRIZON 2013 Exhibition at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre from 19-21 August 2013 for information on either the Helping Hands Program or Workplace Pulse.

The Helping Hands Program will be at Stand 82 and Workplace Pulse will be at StandT12. Both of our stalls have some great, conference only, offers available. We will also have a business card drop competition for those of you who like prizes!

For those of you who have heard about the Helping Hands Program on radio or television this could be the perfect opportunity to see one of the hands that is built at our workshops and to ask us lots of questions!

Others might have been interested in our new ground-breaking survey website, Workplace Pulse but not had the time to test out our site.

Whatever your reason for coming and visiting us I hope that you all choose to download a free ticket and come along :)

PLC girls give a Helping Hand

Students at the Presbyterian Ladies College in Perth recently participated in the Helping Handphoto2-300x224s activity. As part of their school Science Week, PLC staff and students made 26 prosthetic hands which will go to Cambodian landmine victims. The prosthetic hand building compliments some of the other community aid work they are doing in Cambodia.

In September, HC will be delivering and fitting a number of hands in Cambodia and the PLC girls will donating the hands they built as part of this process.

Although students have done the activity overseas, this is the first time it has been done by students in Australia. It was great to see the diverse range of people that this activity appeals to and confirm that it can be just as effective with a group of students as it can be with employees.