The Society of Women Leaders mobilises the power of women in philanthropy to benefit the most disadvantaged in our communities. Since its inception, the group has worked to effect change through financial and hands-on involvement in Red Cross programs, including the Young Parents Program, which works to improve the capacity of young parents, RespectED, a family and community violence prevention program, and through funding for a female International Aid Delegate.
Working together, the Members of the Society of Women Leaders have a say in how their gifts are used, allowing them to effect change in areas that are close to their heart. Featured below are three of the projects that Members have chosen to jointly support.
Australian Red Cross Young Parents Program
Australian Red Cross Young Parents Program works to ensure best outcomes for children and families by improving the capacity of young parents with complex needs, aged 13-24, to live and parent independently.
It is a program designed to meet the needs of pregnant and parenting young women and men who are unable (due to many factors) to access elsewhere the safety, security and support required to look after their child effectively.
The Society of Women Leaders has committed to financially supporting the program for a period of three years, ensuring the delivery of child development, education and volunteer support work for all families at all sites of the Young Parents Program.
"Me and my partner know when we need support, and we're not strong enough on our own, we can always go to Red Cross. I've learned how to break the cycle now, and live a better life. I want my daughter to grow up happy, and I'm so proud of what I've achieved so far," says Kyla, a smiling 19-year old mum who's in her first year at Parramatta's Young Parents Program.
Read more about Kyla's story and how Young Parents Program has helped her and countless others to tackle life's challenges »
International Aid Delegate Program
Australian Red Cross International Aid Delegates contribute a high level of technical expertise to humanitarian operations and development programming across the globe. In times of emergency and crises, they play a crucial role in helping communities prepare, respond and recover.
Through the International Aid Delegates Program, Australian Red Cross recruits, trains, deploys and supports technical specialists, who use their skills and experience around the world in response to requests from any part of the International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement.
The Society of Women Leaders has generously provided funding for a female aid delegate to be deployed for 12 months during emergencies and in times of crises. Their generosity enables women like Ruth Jebb, pictured above, to help communities prepare, respond and recover during disasters and emergencies.
Ruth Jebb is a registered nurse and experienced Red Cross Aid Delegate. She has undertaken missions all over the world, including Kenya, Tanzania, Chad, Sudan and, most recently, Nepal. Residing in Brisbane, Ruth works as an emergency department nurse and midwife, flying out to undertake Red Cross missions whenever the need arises.
Read more about Ruth's experiences as an Australian Red Cross Aid Delegate »
Water and Sanitation
Conflict in Syria in recent years has driven large numbers of people into Lebanon, putting heavy strain on the infrastructure of the country.
Our Society of Women Leaders has contributed a generous $10,000 donation to help the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Lebanese Red Cross to improve living conditions in these informal settlements, supporting a life-saving multi-million dollar water, sanitation and hygiene program.
In Zahle, a new pumping station has increased the availability of water significantly. 60% of the population - 31,500 residents and 8,000 people from Syria who are currently staying in the area - now have access to water (compared with 36% in the past). Water pumping stations have also been renovated in Hermel, and in Camsine, three high-capacity wells equipped by the ICRC now supply 250 litres of water per second to the local station, bringing clean water to more than 106,000 people.
Australian Red Cross supports international aid and development in a range of neighbouring countries. Read more about our work overseas »
RespectED is a family and community violence prevention program that aims to provide education and training to support healthy, non-violent relationships and to build communities' capacity to respond to factors known to increase family and community violence.
Through a combination of evidence-based education and capacity building strategies, key community leaders and community members themselves are guided to tackle local issues and reduce the level and impact of violence against children, women, the elderly and others who are vulnerable.
The Society of Women Leaders has generously supported RespectED, playing a vital role in its successful implementation in disadvantaged communities in Western Australia and Tasmania.
"Tennant Creek sits in the middle of the Northern Territory and is a town of great diversity. Aboriginal residents from 11 language groups make up nearly half of the population of 3,500 who come from all corners of the world. Through the invitation and support from local Aboriginal residents, Red Cross is delivering RespectED, a prevention education and capacity building program developed by Canadian Red Cross to address violence and abuse."
Read more about RespectED »
A daily phone call that can save a life
Giving peace of mind to people who are elderly and isolated by providing a daily phone call to check on their wellbeing is another way our Society of Women Leaders is reaching vulnerable people through their philanthropic initiatives. Every day of the year, even at Christmas, trained volunteers make a call to some of our most vulnerable Australians with a friendly 'hello'. If a call goes unanswered, we send help straight away.
Trish Ross (pictured) has known the fear of falling at home: "I was lying there hopelessly frightened, in pain, and time went by. At one stage I thought, well, this is the end of me… Then I heard the phone ring. I just lie there, and by this time, I was really crying and praying. It rang for the third time and I knew it was Red Cross and it was the best sound I'd ever heard in my life."
Last year, we were able to provide emergency care to more than 1,000 people like Trish, who were ill or injured at home. Red Cross will continue to make these life changing phone calls with the generous support of our Society of Women Leaders.
We thank Founding Patron, Yang Yang who pledged the first donation to this important work in lieu of receiving gifts for her birthday.