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Shining World Awards

Shining World Compassion Award Recipient: Owen Colley – Pure-hearted Endeavor for Animals

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In today’s program, we travel to Hingham, a small, suburban coastal town located on Boston Harbor in the South Shore of the state of Massachusetts, United States. Hingham, also called the “Bucket Town,” is most commonly known for its colonial history and having the oldest church in America.

Six-year-old Owen Colley is from Hingham, but the lovely kindergartner had a special connection to Australia. Owen knows and loves a lot of the country’s animals, and had also lived there for a few months when he was a toddler because his father, Simon Colley, grew up in Sydney. Therefore, the little boy was devastated when he heard of the Australian bushfires, which had a catastrophic impact on the country and its wildlife in 2020. An estimated 1.25 billion wild animals, including mammals, birds and reptiles, died due to the disaster, and thousands more were injured and left homeless.

When he heard the heartbreaking truth, he decided to do something to help. Knowing Owen had been making clay animal characters for a while, his parents came up with the idea of creating a fundraising campaign and making clay koalas to offer to friends and family as a “thank you” for donations for bushfire-affected wildlife. They set up a GoFundMe page for people to donate to Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a volunteer group based in New South Wales that helps rescue, rehabilitate and release wild animals. And the family sent one of Owen’s koalas to each person who donated $50 or more.

The fundraising campaign became so successful that donations came in from nearly every state in the United States. The number of clay koalas they needed to make went far beyond what they ever expected. "Then my whole class found out today and then almost my whole class want to do it." With the initial humble goal of $5,000, the little angel’s fundraising campaign has amazingly reached more than $290,000 so far.

When the caring efforts of Owen and his family came to the attention of Supreme Master Ching Hai, She “Lovingly present Owen Colley the Shining World Compassion Award plus US$20,000 in Heaven’s mercy, to further this touching, selfless work. May God love you, yours and protect all lives.”

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