Bulletin Board: Empowering women & girls
This Sunday, March 4, Madison Sturgess, 21, will be having her curls lopped off at The Coffee Club, Dalby, in order to raise funds for Youth Without Borders' "I Hope" project, which supports grassroots causes for everyday people, including those in Haiti who are still trying to rebuild their lives, homes and community after the earthquake in 2010.
"The immediate tragedy of the earthquake may be over, but as emergency funding draws to a close, sustainable, real rebuilding projects are losing crucial funding," says Sturgess, a student in History and International Relations at UQ, who has an aunt living in Haiti. Madison first had her head shaved in shaved March 2010 to raise money for 'Helping Hands for Haiti' after the earthquakes. "It was great, it was the most liberating thing," she says of the experience. She hopes to get to Haiti herself, with her engineer father and psychologist mother, at the end of this year.
"There are still bodies under rubble two years on," she says. "Before the earthquakes, power was hit and miss at best, and sometimes there are days with no power in certain parts of the cities; cholera has broken out; there are houses still held up by scaffolding... they had little to begin with but after the earthquake, it's not a great picture. The country is completely demoralised and at the mercy of aid groups – it's a hard cycle to break when you're dependent on aid groups. I think grassroots programs are effective and sustainable; getting the people to have a sense of self-determination."
In Sydney, Opportunity International Australia is hosting an Opportunity Swap in collaboration with 10thousandgirl on Sunday. Taking place at Studio 10, Queen Street Studios, Chippendale from 11.30am, attendees are asked to "give generously, swap freely".
While 10thousandgirl is endeavouring to economically empower young Australian women, Opportunity International supports women's economic empowerment globally. The event is a celebration of the essential role that women play in the economic prosperity of their families, communities and countries, and to celebrate the world of possibilities that open up when a girl has a plan. Check out the 10thousandgirl Facebook page for more information.
Perhaps you will pick up something for Dare to Wear Day at the Swap? Organised by the not-for-profit organisation Fitted For Work, Dare to Wear Day encourages us to challenge friends, family and colleagues to be bold and wear something outrageous to raise awareness and funds for women doing it tough on Friday March 30.
Since 2005, Fitted for Work has transformed the lives of more than 6,500 women by providing free interview appropriate clothing and transition to work and mentoring programs. In 2011, Fitted for Work assisted 2,584 women to gain employment and change their lives for the better.
The national fundraising event is open to men, women and children of all ages who are game enough to visit work, school, uni or the local shops wearing wigs, costumes, stripes or any other combination imaginable. To get involved, register as an individual or a team at DareToWearDay.org or visit the Facebook page.
Girl With a Satchel