Women’s Day 2014 Guest Blogger – Ms. Mandy Richards of Global Sisters, Sydney, Australia

Impressive women with so many passions but freedom and human rights of women are particularly strong for her and continuing to grow. Lady behind Global Sisters! You can read more about her – http://www.gdstudios.com/~dev/global_sisters/advisors/mandy-richards/

Thank you Ms. Richards for honoring Conserve India & Conserve HRP with your this gesture.

Over to Ms. Richards………

I had to think about what inspires me to do the work I do, and to try to create real social change.

It varies somewhat in subject and place, but the ever-present theme is creating social change. For some reason I am one of these people who has a need to save the world or at least attempt to in order to make my life seem worthwhile. I am an animal lover, I love the great outdoors and I am particularly passionate about human rights & empowering vulnerable women.

Someone once asked me to fast forward to the day I am lying on my deathbed, and what was it I would want to see looking back on my life. For me it is simple; to love, be loved and to have made a difference. My friends and family are more important than anything else to me and a need to help those having a hard time in life is what makes me tick. Sometimes I fail miserably but these goals are always at the back of my mind, and every day I try to reach them.

I’m not sure what the catalyst was for this drive to make a difference in the world.  I suspect spending my primary school years living in Indonesia, while my father worked on a foreign aid project, may have planted a seed somewhere in my heart. I will never forget walking by myself as a 9 year old through flower markets and passing one person after another cruelly disfigured with Leprosy.

I’ve traveled a lot and generally in developing countries. I always marvel at the ingenuity and skill of so many people who have so little but can create something beautiful or clever out of virtually nothing. A few years ago I started wondering about helping to connect women artisans in developing countries with markets i.e. women in developed countries, who had the money to buy the goods. Around the same time I spent some time working in Botswana and with the Hamlin Fistula Hospitals in Ethiopia. My father made a comment just before I went to Botswana that stuck with me – he said he couldn’t understand why so many people go overseas to help others when there is so much need on our own doorstep. All of this and three years helping to set up a wide variety of social enterprises in Australia lead to ideas starting to fall into place in my head of how I could perhaps make a positive impact.

Global Sisters is my current project and designed to assist women who are economically disadvantaged to develop an online micro business. I like to work smart not long, so rather than reinventing the wheel my aim with is to fill in gaps and help to join the dots so that real change can be created a the grass roots. A one stop shop sales and marketing platform, Global Sisters will provide a space where women who want to provide support, and women in need of support can find each other in our online village. A business directory and e-marketplace will support women and social enterprises in Australia and overseas and our micro loans fund will be the first of its kind for women in Australia.

So now I reach the answer to my question of what inspires me….The women I am working with inspire me every day, whether I am reading a woman’s story, or experiencing it first hand. The strength and consistent desire to create a better future for her children against all adversity, and the passion, bravery and determination of those both supporting and being supported…this is what makes my fire burn.

– Mandy Richards

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