I first travelled to Faridabad, India in 2008 as a volunteer. But as a newly qualified nurse, quickly realised that I was severely unqualified to make any real difference to the problems faced by the community. So instead I talked to the locals about what they thought they needed. Then the next year I founded Rise the charity, and have spent the past ten years working with the community to build a school for children, a free medical clinic with access to medication, family planning and women-centred care.
Women have always been a central focus of our work. Firstly, because I am a woman and I know the strength of a mother as I solely believe that children are our hope for the future and when you empower women you have the chance to educate a whole generation. Our last project formed organically from the wishes of the local women to learn to read and write, then in 2015, these same women expressed that they would like to learn dressmaking
skills, to expand their employment opportunities. Initially, the women sold their garments at the Delhi markets but then in 2017 I received the most wonderful gift, they had made a little waistcoat for my children. With tassels, patchwork, mirrored-embroidery, lined with velvet the history of India and the heart of this community were stitched into its seams, so we began selling these treasures in Australia to raise funds for the Rise school and clinic. Just when these stunning pieces started selling out we also began learning about the endless benefits of sustainability and empowerment over the age-old hand-out charity model. So Rise was adapted from a charity to a socially conscious business. We believe that when women are empowered to earn their own money and run their own business, exceptional changes occur. I’ve seen incredible changes in the lives of this community and I wholeheartedly believe in this work.
“Every Journey starts with a single step”
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