Heroines: the women who have inspired us to act

07 March 2019

Topics: "International Women's Day"

This International Women’s Day, our staff reflect on the women who've inspired them. From healthcare workers and educators, to human rights and political activists, these are the women on the frontline fighting for equality, justice, and opportunity for all.

Sharon Edington (International Programs Manager) on Dr Lubna Sabah: a medic under siege

 
Dr. Lubna Sabah is the Director of Health with Act for Peace's local partner in Gaza, the Near East Council of Churches. She is a tenacious, caring, professional and warm person who provides medical care to mothers and children in Gaza. Her work is extremely difficult, as the blockade of Gaza has resulted in electrical outages and medicine shortages, while frequent bouts of conflict place stress on the health system.

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If I ever think I have a difficult job, I remember Lubna and how tough her gig is. It really helps put things in perspective.
Sharon Edington
Lubna is always positive, hard-working and incredibly dedicated to serving the community. No matter what is going on around her, she comes to work every day fired up to do the best she can to help children and their parents. She is always hungry for new information or ideas to continue to strengthen the great work of the Near East Council of Churches.

Tristyn Harrison (Supporter Care) on Isobelle Carmony: an outspoken author

One of my role-models is Isobelle Carmody, an Australian author who works passionately and tirelessly for social justice.

She is a fantastically creative writer who has inspired many of her readers and fans to be more vocal about the situation facing refugees on Manus Island. Her writing has shaped my own ideas about what I stand for, and encouraged the inner voice in me that was almost stifled by the overwhelming barriers to making a difference for those who have no voice.
Her commitment to making a stand in defense of those who couldn’t stand for themselves is what inspired me to move into the aid sector, and I hope one day that I can have as much of an impact on someone else’s life as she has had on mine.
 
Tristyn Harrison

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To read more about Isobelle, visit her website at:
http://www.isobellecarmody.net/ 

Karen McGrath (Global Marketing Manager – Ration Challenge) on Sally Thompson: a defender of refugees immersed in the community

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Sally Thompson inspires me so much because she puts the community she works in at the forefront of everything she does.

Sally’s organisation, The Border Consortium, is a world leader in community-based protection and community-based decision making. How do they find out what the community wants? They ask them of course. Sally will sit with, for example, a nine year old child and listen to them, hear their views and try to understand what they want.
She shows the value, depth of knowledge and wisdom that comes with long-term commitment to a cause.
Karen McGrath
To me, her choice to listen deeply to people is wiser and more valuable than any qualification. She shows what it really means to walk alongside someone in their struggle.

The biggest lesson she’s taught me is that change takes time: you have to commit to a path, stick with it but also adapt along the way.Read more about Sally Thompson’s organisation, The Border Consortium, here:
https://www.theborderconsortium.org/

Hope Capurro (Marketing and Communications Officer – Ration Challenge) on Amika George: A 19-year-old champion for women’s health

Amika George is a student in the UK who founded the #FreePeriods campaign. She’s calling for schools and universities across the UK to provide free female sanitary products to ensure that no girl has to miss out on a day of education.She fights against what she calls ‘period poverty’, in which young women who cannot afford menstrual products choose to skip school while they are on their period. Because these girls miss out on school, they struggle to get a quality education, and then they struggle to get jobs and ultimately get caught in poverty.
She’s an inspiration because it would be so tempting for her to think “I’m just a student, I don’t have any power in the world” but instead, she ignored that feeling and went out to make real change.
Hope Capurro
She’s still studying at the same time as running this campaign. It was just something that spoke to her; she compared herself to the girls around her who were missing out on educational opportunities and said “I can’t believe there’s this obvious injustice” – and she did something about it.To learn more about Amika’s #FreePeriods campaigning, check out her website here:
https://www.freeperiods.org/

Yasmin Finbow (Marketing and Communications Officer – Ration Challenge) on Jacinda Ardern: challenging the patriarchy


Jacinda Ardern is a power figure, but not in the traditional sense. She’s more of a “new power” figure. She’s kind, caring and considerate. She’s got a lot of resolve in challenging traditional power structures and toxic masculinity; she’s a real figure-head for change. 

She’s telling young women to dream big, she’s saying: make it your world, not a man’s world. You have to break down ideas that say you must be this and do this and conform to this.
Yasmin Finbow

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Helen Beeby (Relationships Fundraising Partner) on Dr Alma Ram: a defender of women’s rights

 
Dr. Alma Ram has been giving to the community her whole adult life.
 
Working in the Dalit (untouchable) communities of India’s Punjab region, Alma and her team deliver maternity care, health awareness, and contraceptive education, together with female empowerment activities, education to prevent honour killings and female foeticide, and programs encouraging mothers to see the value of having a girl child.

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Alma has been an incredibly inspirational person in my life. She is a true servant leader that encourages her team to fight against cultural prejudice against women. She is courageous when talking to groups of men about their part in bringing about social change and humble working with supporters overseas to deal with the perpetual struggle for funding. She is kind yet strong, bold yet self-effacing, insightful yet witty.
 
You can read more about Dr. Alma Ram at her foundation’s website:
https://womanandchildhealth.org/