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Shining World Awards

Shining World Compassion and Hero Award Recipient: Damien Mander (vegan) – A Valiant Animal Defender

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Damien served in elite Australian special operations military units when he was young. Exploring a number of occupations after completing his service, he arrived in Africa, where he discovered he could put his military skills to good use. Using his life savings, Mr. Mander founded the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) in 2009, to protect and preserve wildlife in many regions. The non-profit is a direct-action law enforcement organization. "The organization started with Damien training small units of anti-poaching rangers in Zimbabwe and then later in other parts of southern Africa, applying military derived tools and techniques to making those rangers more efficient, getting them the equipment and the basic training that they needed. And as time's gone on, what we found is that engagement with communities, getting the communities onside, understanding the value of the wildlife and the broader ecosystems and environment that those animals live in, is the only way to come up with a permanent solution." Among the projects done by Damien Mander are the recently created “Akashinga,” or “The Brave Ones” program and introducing economic and social opportunities as well as the plant-based lifestyle to women in rural Zimbabwe. The Award Letter from our Beloved Supreme Master Ching Hai for this noble wildlife protector reads: "Dear Damien, It is with great admiration and gratitude that we present to you the 'Shining World Compassion and Hero Award' for empowering rangers to protect wildlife. You have created Akashinga ('The Brave Ones'), a team of heroic field warriors made up of underprivileged women from the rural Zimbabwe community. These highly-trained female rangers are guardians of the nation’s precious and endangered wildlife. We humbly offer this Award in recognition of your foundation’s exemplary efforts to actively stop poaching, the military-grade training you provide, and the dignity and self-belief given to locals. For your innovative solution to conservation, for teaching others that real love for animals begins on out plate, and for your unparalleled skills and noble wisdoms, we hereby applaud and celebrate the heroic and compassionate deeds of Damien Mander. May you and all involved in your care be forever protected and blessed by all Heavens and Earth. With all Love and gratitude. With Great Honour, Love and Blessings in God’s Grace Supreme Master Ching Hai"
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