Karen Leonard has resided in Essendon, Australia, all of her life. For the past thirty years she has successfully run a small business in Essendon, The Karen Leonard Music School.
A dedicated traveler since the age of eighteen, Karen has visited many countries. In 2000 while backpacking through Vietnam, Karen met a young street kid and they had an instant connection. He introduced Karen to his world, his fellow street kid friends and their families. It wasn't long before Karen was supporting several street kids by encouraging them back to school and paying their education costs. After retu... full info
RMIT UNIVERSITY VOLUNTEERSDr. Esther Charlesworth and the volunteer students from RMIT Melbourne. Pictured during their project visit to Hoi An in June, 2007. This dedicated team of students worked on their designs into the wee small hours of the morning, such was their enthusiasm and dedication to the project.
RMIT UNIVERSITY STUDENTS AUSTRALIAThe students put in extremely long working days in order to complete their design tasks. The very beautiful Liferesort, in Hoi An kindly donated their conference room for the students to work in 24/7.
MARELYN MCDONALD AUSTRALIAMarelyn is a tireless volunteer for Lifestart Foundation in both Australia and Vietnam. She is pictured here setting up the Lifestart Foundation Free School.
RICHARD TREGEAR AUSTRALIARichard is a senior outreach worker in Australia with strong links to Vietnam. He has volunteered for Lifestart Foundation in Vietnam and is also a great mentor and advisor to Karen.
MULTI- SKILLED RICHARDRichard and his family donated all of the plants and trees at the Lifestart Foundation Free School. Not only did Richard fly over to Vietnam to supervise the planting but he also had a serious chat to the plants about not dying.....it must have worked as they all miraculously survived the recent floods!
FATHER PETER HANSEN AUSTRALIAKaren and Father Peter Hansen pictured taking a break in Hue City. Father Peter Hansen is another wonderful advisor and mentor to Karen. They both share a deep love of Vietnam and the Vietnamese people.
SANDRA RUSSELL AUSTRALIASandra is another indispensible volunteer who does all of the Lifestart book keeping. Her behind the scenes work load is enormous.
SHERRY BERGER USASherry from Philadelphia, USA volunteers at the Lifestart Foundation Free School, weaving her artistic magic over all those who are lucky enough to be in her class. Sherry also helps enormously with getting the blogs out to all of our Lifestart supporters.
RACHEL EVERSON-CRANE UKRachel from the UK has helped get some of this years blogs out to you also. Rachel and her family are very actively involved in helping members of our disabled group.
CHRISTOPHER FRANCKE AUSTRALIAChristopher recently held a fundraising event to raise money for Hiep ( a member of our disabled group) to get a three wheeled motorbike. He is a great supporter of Lifestart Foundation.
GHI QUANG LE VIETNAMGhi is one of the Lifestart Foundation Jobstart candidates who will come to Australia on a traineeship with Mariana Hardwick in 2008. Ghi is also a volunteer translator for Lifestart Foundation in Vietnam.
CHI AND GHIGhi is pictured with his English tutor Chi in Hoi An. Ghi is spending many extra hours studying English in preparation for his trip to Australia.
THANH THI TRANThanh is the second Lifestart Foundation Jobstart candidate who will come to Australia on a traineeship with Mariana Hardwick in 2008.. Thanh is also a volunteer translator for Lifestart Foundation in Vietnam.
She is pictured here lodging her all important passport application.
THANH AT HOME IN HOI ANThanh is pictured in her small but cosy room in Hoi An.
When Thanh and Ghi come to Australia they will live with Karen in Melbourne.
THANH'S KITCHENThanh proudly shows off her little kitchen made from a cardboard box in her room.
LEE PHAM A SPECIAL FRIENDLee Pham is a Buddhist nun, a dear friend and advisor not to mention a great motorbike driver!
Lee has spent most of her life in the USA and has now returned to Vietnam to help her people.
DINNER WITH LEEIf you are lucky enough to be invited to Lee's for dinner you are guaranteed of a scrumptious vegetarian dinner.
KAREN AND PETA Peta is a volunteer from Ballarat, Victoria. This picture was taken on her most recent volunteering trip to Hoi An just before she stacked her motorbike! Peta is participating in the Hanoi to Sapa fundraising bicycle ride in November 2008.
JULIE HEWSTONE UKJulie pictured in between Thanh and Karen volunteered teaching English. She was in Vietnam during the typhoon so her volunteering for Lifestart took on an extra fifty hats at that time.