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Young women today have no idea of the sexism we had to face - wives could be legally beaten by their husbands, death duties imposed on widows would leave them homeless and penniless. Being sexually harrassed by strangers was a common event. Women were not allowed into some clubs and could not be served alcohol in public bars. A lot of this has changed, due to the valiant efforts of previous generations of women fighting for the right to be treated equally.

Hilarie Lindsay MBE OAM PhD (Syd.)

Hilarie became aware of sexist attitudes from an early age - her mother refused to agree to “obey” her husband in her wedding vows in 1917. Hilarie, herself, started the campaign to abolish death duties on a dead husband’s estate which nearly always left the widow homeless and penniless. She wrote prolifically to newspapers on the rights of women and the need to have more women in parliament - knowing that it was possible to change the status quo through writing to alert the general public of these injustices to women. She started writing seriously in the 1960s under a penname to protect her privacy but then later, as she started winning awards, she began using her real name and became a mentor for many women writers, as well as President of the Society of Women Writers. She was awarded the MBE, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the OAM for Services to Literature. On top of her recent PhD, she still works as a Director of her toy manufacturing company, a company she joined over 65 years ago. She was the first female president of any division of the Chamber of Manufacturers - breaking the glass ceiling. This was at the time when women members were not admitted to the Annual Dinner, so she had to fight for the right to attend as she was President of the Toy & Games Manufacturers Association of Australia (TAGMA).  Currently, she is working on a novel and has two more books in the pipeline. Among the many organisations she’s been invovled, Hilarie is a long standing member of Zonta International, an organistion which works to raise the status of women and girls worldwide. 

http://zonta.org.au/Zonta_in_Australia/Home_to_3_Districts_of_Zonta_International.html

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney

Laura Wellink

26/7/2011

 
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 I believe that every classroom teacher should gain an understanding of what it feels like to really struggle when learning something new. It is the only way we will be able to empathise with students and therefore be fully committed to making lessons as interactive, relative and informative as possible.


Laura Wellink

Fighting for her rights and the rights of others, Laura is using what some people may call her disability, and turning it around to try and help others. Laura’s neurosurgeon gave her parents little hope of her survival, and if she did survive, then little chance of being educated, due to the trauma inflicted on her brain from hydrocephalus. Laura has learned to manage her learning issues by focusing intensely on the subject at hand. She has become an advocate for other young patients suffering from the disease because of her ability to communicate what is going on inside her head. Laura is at university now studying to become an Early Childhood and Primary teacher, and has a specific interest in Learning Difficulties as she has genuine empathy and understanding of what children with learning difficulties face when presented with complicated tasks. During Practical Sessions, Laura has been able to identify learning difficulties in the classroom and implement different strategies that help a struggling student to succeed. Laura has faced people in her professional life who don’t believe she can teach because of her disability. Her outrage and dertermined fighting spirit has ensured her future in teaching and helping others.


email Laura: laura_wellink@yahoo.com.au


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Castle Hill, NSW

Deborah Nicholas

25/7/2011

 
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Working with Aboriginal mothers and babies makes me feel proud to be part of an important journey of righting some wrongs and closing the gap of disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. The rewards of watching children grow up happy and healthy are worth all the hard work 10 times over.


Deborah Nicholas

Awarded NSW Midwife of the Year, Deborah works within the Aborignal community, caring for babies from pregnancy through their first eight years of life. Because of the complex social and economic disadvantages effecting Aboriginal families, Deborah finds it essential to work in a holistic manner - often going beyond the usual scope of midwifery practice. She supports women through motivational counselling, advocates for and provides referral for community assistance with housing, domestic violence, drug and alcohol counseling, and community support services. She believes a loving relationship between a mother and her child has beneficial impacts on the family and community for generations, and a positive and loving infancy establishes an individual’s resilience and general wellbeing from infancy to adulthood.



Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Forster, NSW

Di Westaway

25/7/2011

 
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I founded Wild Women On Top to empower women to achieve extraordinary goals AND change lives. I believe we should live our dreams and that positive thinking is the basis of a happy life. I have spent the last 10 years working with women in teams and I’ve learned that Together Everyone Achieves More. I believe in doing interesting things with interesting people and adding value.


Di Westaway

Di is passionate about women’s health and her team has raised nearly a million dollars for The Fred Hollows Foundation through the Wild Women On Top Sydney Coastrek. She seeks to empower women to achieve extraordinary goals and follow their dreams. Di founded Wild Women on Top to encourage and promote leadership skills in women by providing opportunities for team building and personal development. Her teams travel to amazing places, accomplish incredible things with like minded professional women and have the opportunity to fulfill humanitarian goals. They combine extreme adventure challenges with fundraising for The Fred Hollows Foundation and The Australian Himalayan Foundation. She has been a physical educator for over 30 years, and a trekker and mountain climber for ten. Di is a former Australian Gymnastics, Aerobics and Masters bouldering champion, has worked in many fields including teacher training, journalism and public speaking, and is a member of the Wild Women On Top Seven Summits team, a keen rock climber and a mother of three.


http://www.wildwomenontop.com/


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Shelly Beach Cliffs, Manly, Sydney

Tracy Everingham

22/7/2011

 
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To me the beauty of Sydney Homeless Connect  is seeing the joy in people’s faces as they have these lovely experiences on the day. It’s achieving these tangible outcomes that help people get onto the path out of homelessness that makes all the work worthwhile.

Tracy Everingham

Tracy is one of the founding members of Sydney Homeless Connect - a program designed to bring together people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness in Sydney with the services and support that they need whilst providing them with a positive day they will remember. This annual event brings together professionals that can help the homeless, like legal aid, housing commissions, employment bureaus, and countless other organisations that want to help those in need. The day also includes a healthy lunch, haircutting, portraits, animal care, free clothing, and even therapeutic massages. As the Head of Operations for the charity, Tracy is responsible for ensuring the smooth running of the logistics of the annual event and also coordinates much of the day-to-day business of the charity. Tracy’s exceptional organisational skills and attention to detail help her to keep Sydney Homeless Connect delivering the work that she is so passionate about. This vital link in the community has been operating for two years.

http://www.sydneyhomelessconnect.com/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney

Trish Lowe

20/7/2011

 
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I look on with admiration and joy at the provision of such unconditional love that I witness with every shift.

Trish Lowe

Trish works within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where the most vulnerable of human beings, newborns, arrive in crisis, battling to stay alive. She and the team care for infants ranging in age from 24-42 weeks gestation, who require intensive care and ongoing stabilisation and recuperation. On any given day her role extends from resuscitation of an infant due to deterioration, then stabilisation with respiratory support, intravenous fluids and medications, right through to solving a breast feeding problem for a mother, whose infant is now well enough to feed. Over time Trish establishes close bonds with the families and babies in her care, as they return post discharge for ongoing growth and development assessments. She also supports families through the grief of losing an infant and provides sensitive care which is vital, in order to help them form positive memories and process that event in some meaningful way. Trish witnesses what it means to love unconditionally, as parents grieve losses and celebrate successes, with no expectation of reciprocation.

http://www.rhwfoundation.com.au/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney

Ruchika Sahai

20/7/2011

 
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Every child is born with the ability and desire to do good. I wanted to create a product, a company, and a brand that instilled my sincere belief that it’s never too early to cultivate the will to make a difference in our children.

Ruchika Sahai

Sitting pregnant on the balcony one night with her husband, Ruchika was contemplating how they could instill the values and ideals that they held dear and the concept of making a difference into their children. Ruchika decided that she wanted to create a company based on the principal of reciprocity. She created Booda Brand on the premise of “One for You, One for Humanity.”  For every single Booda Brand product purchased, a book would be gifted to a child in need through the incredible organization Room to Read. The company makes organic newborn and baby clothes, each emblazoned with the words “I will make a difference,” and packaged in a gift box resembling a book. Last year, Oprah took notice and put the Booda Brand tees on the “O List”  in her magazine and on her website.   

http://www.roomtoread.org/

http://www.boodabrand.com/

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney

Kerri-Ann Nattrass

20/7/2011

 
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 I basically love my job and want the kids to know that someone out there in this world gives a crap about them and wants to help them succeed throughout their tough adolescent years.

Kerri-Ann Nattrass

Making contact with homeless and at-risk young people on the streets to let them know someone cares is just part of what Kerri-Ann does to help break the cycle of crime, abuse and poverty for those who are entrenched in homelessness, prostitution and drug addiction. Kerri-Ann will keep an eye on where they are living, help them look for a job, help write their CV, guide them through their interview process, and drive them to and from work for the first week - no matter what the hour may be - to establish a routine and to install confidence within themselves. These simple steps help long term unemployed young people build skills, overcome fears, and broaden their perceptions of what they can achieve.

http://salvos.org.au/


Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location, Redfern, Sydney

Jennie Orchard

20/7/2011

 
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Room to Read was founded on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children® and since 2000, it has impacted more than six million children. Having personal connections with many of the countries where the organization is working, particularly Laos and South Africa, I am inspired to tell the story again and again, encouraging others to join the movement to change lives by delivering literacy and gender equality through education.

Jennie Orchard

Books, reading and literature have always been at the core of Jennie’s life. With a background in publishing, when she moved to Asia with her family in early 2002, she became involved in the non-profit world, initially contributing to a women’s organization (CWAJ) in Japan, then becoming involved with Room to Read while living in Hong Kong. In early 2008 Jennie returned to Sydney and led the team which has established a highly successful fundraising and awareness-raising presence for Room to Read in Australia, becoming Development Director for Australasia in 2010. Since launching with a Wine Gala in February 2009, nearly $5m has been raised and there is now a network of six volunteer chapters around Australia, with chapters also starting to develop in New Zealand. Jennie’s personal commitment to Room to Read derives from strong connections with many of the program countries, including South Africa and Laos. Her husband worked in Vientiane for three years and they celebrated their marriage there with a baci ceremony in October 1983. In February 2008, before returning to establish Room to Read in Australia, Jennie and Ivor visited a remote community in northern Laos to see the Room to Read school they funded to celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary.

http://www.roomtoread.org/australia

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney

Jean Madden

18/7/2011

 
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In 2005, I decided to give all the rough sleepers in Brisbane a swag for Christmas, because I don’t think anyone should have to sleep on concrete or in the dirt. News spread quickly of what I was doing and I have been really busy ever since.


Jean Madden

After realising the negative effects of ‘sleeping rough’, Jean Madden designed the Street Swag made from lightweight waterproofed canvas with a high-density foam mattress that also has room for extra belongings. With school children, prisoners, and Aboriginal communities, Jean and her supporters have now bedded and given a basic shelter to over 16,400 of our homeless. Jean was the first Australian winner of the world’s largest design award, the INDEX: People’s Choice Award and the QLD Young Australian of the Year 2010. Jean’s initiative is about keeping people alive.

http://www.streetswags.org/index.php

Photographer: Diane Macdonald
Location: Sydney Town Hall, Sydney