Andrea Durbach

12/10/2011

 
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Growing up, being educated and practising law in apartheid South Africa made me very aware of the strained relationship between law and justice, despite their alleged connection. Coming to live in a solid democracy (Australia), I was amazed, perhaps naively, that the law was still used to undermine justice and strip people of their rights. And so the challenge for me continues - to remind law of its ‘noble aspiration’ and through my work, to nudge it closer to justice, hopefully changing lives for the better.

Andrea Durbach

Born and educated in apartheid South Africa, Andrea practised as a political trial lawyer and human rights advocate, representing victims and opponents of apartheid laws.  In 1988 she was appointed solicitor to 25 black defendants in a notorious death penalty case in South Africa and later published an account of her experiences in Upington (Allen & Unwin 1999) which was short-listed for the Alan Paton Non-Fiction Award.  In the case of the Upington 25, the judge (there being no jury system in South Africa) applied the ‘common purpose doctrine’ and convicted 25 accused of the murder of one man, a black policeman; 14 of her clients were sentenced to death and her barrister, Namibian human rights advocate, Anton Lubowski, was assassinated a few months later. Soon after Anton’s murder, Andrea came to live in Australia returning to South African to conduct the appeal of the 25 in 1991; 21 of the 25 murder convictions were overturned and all the death sentences were commuted. The story of the Upington 25 has been made into a documentary, A Common Purpose, which won the 2011 Sydney Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary. Since arriving in Australia, Andrea has continued her fight for the rights of others, through her involvement and leadership in many organisations including: the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, the University of New South Wales Faculty of Law, the Administrative Decisions Tribunal and the NSW Law Reform Commission, and as Director of UNSW’s Australian Human Rights Centre. She is currently a member of the board of the NSW Legal Aid Commission, the editorial board of the Australian Journal of Human Rights and the Advisory Council of Jurists of the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions. In May 2011, Andrea took up a 6 month part-time appointment as Deputy Sex Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. 

http://www.ahrcentre.org/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: University of New South Wales
 

Cath Jefferies

12/10/2011

 
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 People naturally have fears about things they don’t know or understand and ideas and conceptions become generalised. People with chromosomal or mental abnormalities are quite often misunderstood and are treated with fear. I’d like to help change that.

Cath Jefferies

Cath founded Dance for Down Syndrome (D4DS) in 2010 - an association that raises funds and awareness through dance. Cath’s brother Phillip, has Down Syndrome. She saw the joy dancing brought him and somehow wanted to combine that feel-good factor with fundraising, while improving awareness about Down Syndrome, exposing the myths and fears surrounding it. Dance is a universal language without barriers and it was chosen especially because of that quality to express the ease with which people can connect with others. Cath designed this fundraising project to be a fun way to get children involved and bring a closer awareness of Down Syndrome to others in the community.

http://www.dance4downsyndrome.com.au/dancing/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Naomi Steer

15/09/2011

 
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Humanitarian challenges facing refugees who have lost everything can appear overwhelming but sometimes simple solutions can mean the difference between life and death. A mosquito net to prevent malaria, a plastic sheet to keep out the rain, a cooking pot to make a hot meal, and clean drinking water to prevent disease. 80% of all refugees are women and children and providing support to them is top priority for me and the team at A4UNHCR.

Naomi Steer

Naomi was one of the main founders of Australia for UNHCR (A4UNHCR). Since setting up UNHCR’s Australian fundraising operations in 2000, she has travelled to many refugee situations including Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Chad and Uganda to speak with and record the stories of refugees. Close to Naomi’s heart is the Safe Mother and Baby program funded by Australian donors. Now running in Somalia - which has  one of the highest rates of maternal and neonatal mortality rates - the program focuses on reproductive health and education. At the centre of the program is a simple kit made up of a plastic sheet, clean blade, soap, string, swaddling and resuscitation instructions all of which enables mothers to give birth in a clean environment, reducing the risk of haemorrhage and post-natal infection. This simple, low cost kit of basic materials has saved thousands of lives.

http://www.unrefugees.org.au/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Sarah Garnett

15/09/2011

 
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Books are powerful - they have the ability to change someone’s life. They
offer choices, whether it be to reconnect with a past interest, to learn or
to just escape from an often miserable day to day existence.

Sarah Garnett

In 2003 after the death of a young friend, Benjamin Andrew, Sarah decided to make herself useful by working as a volunteer.  She started helping serve meals to the homeless and disadvantaged in Sydney’s CBD. One evening Sarah noticed a man sitting under a streetlight reading a novel while waiting for the food van.  She started bringing him a few books and it was here The Benjamin Andrew Footpath Library began. The Footpath Library exists solely on donations of money and services. Currently it gives away 2500 new and secondhand books a month in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to homeless hostels and community organisations. The books are a gift, they are not returned.  For Sarah, the aim of The Footpath Library is to promote literacy, make books more accessible to homeless and disadvantaged people and change society’s attitudes to these members of our community.

http://www.footpathlibrary.org/


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Anne Looby

15/09/2011

 
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Breast Wishes has been created by a community of artists. It is their love and good will that is the foundation of the piece  and for that reason it ultimately speaks to people’s hearts not their heads.  It is without doubt the most fulfilling journey I have ever undertaken and it is my hope that its message of well-being and sisterhood reaches as broad an audience as possible.

Anne Looby

Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer diagnosed in females in Australia and it is estimated that almost 13,300 Australian women will be diagnosed this year. It is also the leading cause of cancer death in females. Early detection is the best method for reducing deaths from breast cancer. Anne conceived the original idea for Breast Wishes, An Uplifting Musical, five years ago when her younger sister was diagnosed with the disease. Its development was unconventional and unique and only possible with the skill and generosity of her talented friends. The genesis for Breast Wishes was born out of her desire to create a show to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. The National Breast Cancer Foundation are royalty holders in the piece.  Anne felt compelled and inspired to make a difference not only to her sister, who is a survivor, but to the thousands of women - friends, mums, grandmothers, sisters, cousins - and men who are affected by this disease. The musical has toured nationally in Australia in 2009 & 2011 and has been seen by over 25,000 people.

http://www.nbcf.org.au/
http://www.breastwishes.com.au/


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Tara Winkler

06/09/2011

 
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To be able to make a difference in the lives of such vulnerable, innocent children, to make the world a safer place for them to grow up in - has made my life richer and deeper in so many ways. It makes me strive to be the best person I can be.

Tara Winkler

Tara was in her early twenties and working as a volunteer in Cambodia when she heard about a corrupt orphanage where children were suffering from severe neglect and shocking abuse. Tara assembled a team and took action - rescuing 14 children from the orphanage and creating the Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT). CCT is now home to 50 children, helping them overcome their backgrounds of abuse and nelgect, breaking the cycle of poverty through care and education. Tara resides in Cambodia and speaks fluent Khmer, and the Trust she founded also supports families in the Battambang region, street children, people with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, victims of landmines, the physically and mentally disabled, and others who are in need. Tara plans to purchase land to build on, so that CCT has a permanent base to provide children with the security they need. Rather than one large institution, the preferred model is one in which small groups (from eight-ten children) are cared for in individual homes by a house mother and father, creating an atmosphere of a typical Cambodian family. CCT has also opened a shop in Battambang to help support its activities and ABC’s Australian Story has produced a story on Tara and CCT. In 2011, Tara was named NSW Young Australian of the Year.


http://www.cambodianchildrenstrust.org/


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Margaret Wilcox

06/09/2011

 
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 If there’s a message I would give to people in the same situation, it is never give up, never lose hope.

Margaret Wilcox

When Margaret’s daughter Tanya was 3 years old, she was abducted by her Libyan father and taken into hiding. It took Margaret fourteen years of heartache, private investigators, lawyers, red tape, and determination to be able to hold her daughter in her arms once again. Her daughter was confused and hurt, so Margaret wrote a long love letter to her explaining the extraordinary lengths she went to in hope of finding her again. This love letter was published into a book and has been translated into 6 languages, and offers hope for those in a similar situation. There is unfortunately very little help once borders are crossed in this kind of situation, as it is deemed a personal, and not a criminal matter. Margaret used her book, Gone, to create an awareness of the problem with the hope that those responsible for the legislation governing these problems can be encouraged to look for a solution. 


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 
 
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 Encouraging others – especially older women – to realise their potential as writers and researchers has been the most fulfilling aspect of my career.

 Professor Emerita Elizabeth Webby AM FAHA

Throughout her life, Elizabeth has helped give a voice to many women writers and researchers, encouraging their development and pursuit of their artistic or scholarly ambitions. She has mentored women for decades, influencing the ways they explore the human condition and opening their minds to new ways of thinking. Elizabeth taught at the University of Sydney for 32 years and from 1988 to 1999 was the editor of Southerly, Australian’s oldest literary quarterly. In 2004, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to the study, teaching and promotion of Australian literature, for her support of Australian authors and for fostering links between academic and general reading communities. Many Australian students and authors have been helped by Elizabeth’s calm support and gentle guidance, as well as her passion for the written word.

http://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/
http://www.womenwritersnsw.org/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Anastasia Park

26/08/2011

 
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 I remember the first second Jacinta was born. I was in the delivery room with our mother and then the doctor asked if I wanted to cut her umbilical cord and my first thought being a teenager was how disgusting! But then I took a deep breath and just did it. A similar thing went through my head when I was asked to take full time care of my sister. My philosophy throughout life is you just need to get on with it and move forward as there are so many people out there doing it much harder than you. The reason I took on this massive responsibility was to give my sister the childhood I never had, a stable home environment and unconditional love. I’m so proud of her accomplishments and how far she has come despite the circumstances. Would I do it again definitely - yes! Because no amount of words can describe the feeling of knowing you have made a difference in a child’s life.

Anastasia Park

When Anastasia was twenty, her mother was declared unfit to raise Anastasia’s five year old half-sister, Jacinta. Anastasia did what most twenty year olds would never even contemplate doing - she volunteered to raise Jacinta as her own, to give her the love and the security that she herself missed as a child. Taking on the responsibility of raising a child when she herself was little more than a teenager was a daunting task, and the road was rocky, but now Jacinta is taking her HSC exams and planning on entering university next year. She will be the first in her family to attend university. Anastasia’s hard work battling homework, the legal system and bureaucratic red tape has paid off - in the form of lovely, well-adjusted young woman, Jacinta.


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney
 

Julie McCrossin

24/08/2011

 
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These days I feel like my vocation in life is to help people listen deeply to each other and then pause and think before making a judgment. My totems are the Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo with its eerie, mournful wail and the Sulpher Crested Cockatoo with its raucous, anarchic screech that makes me laugh. My life and work are a mixture of both.

Julie McCrossin

Julie McCrossin gets people talking. After 20 years as a broadcaster with ABC Radio, ABC TV and Network 10, she is now a freelance journalist, facilitator, trainer and speaker. Julie is renowned across Australia for her warmth, humour, intelligence and commitment to social justice. Julie has qualifications in the arts, law and education. Yet her most valuable skills are her capacity for listening, empathy and playful fun. In her work, Julie asks questions and really listen to the answers. Her professional and voluntary work predominantly involves very sensitive and complex subjects, like suicide prevention, child protection, family law, palliative care and mental health. People initially think it must all be so grim, but Julie finds that gentle fun is as important as the serious reflection. Her background in comedy and children’s theatre helps her unleash the joy in others and encourage them to have a voice.  
http://www.frans.com.au/
http://www.napcan.org.au/
http://www.glhv.org.au/
http://www.hollows.org/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney