Better World

6-Year-Old Raises Over $250,000 With Clay Koalas To Fight Australian Fires

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There’s not a soul with a heart on the planet who doesn’t feel for the people and wildlife that have been devastated by the recent Australia bushfires — and 6-year-old Owen Colley from Hingham, Massachusetts, is no exception.

Owen has a deep connection to Australia: His father grew up near Sydney, and Owen even lived there for a bit as a toddler.

The little boy was so hurt when he learned that over a billion animals are suspected lost as a result of the wildfires that ravaged the country, he drew a picture of a koala, dingo, and kangaroo finding relief in some much-needed rain. When his mom, Caitlin Colley, asked what they could do to help, they came up with the idea of making little clay koalas to give away as incentives for donations to the Wildlife Rescue South Coast, a rescue group in New South Wales. Their mission is to build structures to house displaced animals and help individuals set up feeding stations on their own property, so animals who are now without homes or food will have somewhere to go.

Clay koalas for donations.
screenshot: CNN

How much difference can a 6-year-old make with some clay and a dream? So far, Owen has raised over $250,000!

Dedicated to sending a clay koala to anyone who donates $50 or more, the Colley family was so surprised with the response they released a statement on their GoFundMe page. “As you can imagine, we have been busy recruiting family and friends for koala-making parties!”

Donations and comments from donors have poured in from all over the world. From people donating in honor of loved ones who, like Owen, love and and respect wildlife, to those who were simply moved by the generosity of a 6-year-old boy, the response has been overwhelming.

“Anyone can make a difference and when we come together we can make an even bigger difference,” Colley told CNN. “I just I love the idea that maybe other kids can take this to their communities and sell little clay koalas locally and raise money for this great cause.”

The former Content Director at Parenting, and several other brands, Ana Connery is a writer and content strategist whose work appears in USA Today, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, Cafe Mom/The Stir, Momtastic, and others.