To celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD), I’d like to introduce you to three amazing women I have the privilege of knowing. All of these women embody the IWD 2017 theme of Be Bold For Change and I hope they will inspire you to be the change you wish to see in the world.
Jane Jason OBE
Jane’s father, Joseph Levy CBE BEM, had dementia and although their family was lucky enough to afford help and care they found that the specialist care they needed simply didn’t exist. Most of us would probably just accept this and get on with it or, at the most, start an online petition. Not Jane. Jane started a charity.
Dementia UK was founded in 1995, however the beginnings of the charity started long before that. Recognising the impact that caring for a loved one with dementia has on a family – and frustrated at the lack of expert advice and help – Jane along with her family, Dr Monica Greenwood and Margaret Butterworth set up a specialist training programme back in 1988. The first Admiral Nurses were then appointed in 1990. Admiral Nurses are specialist dementia nurses and are named after Jane’s dad who was affectionately known as Admiral Joe by his friends and family.
Almost 30 years later and Dementia UK has helped thousands of families to cope with the reality of caring for a loved one with dementia, through their helpline and Admiral Nurses as well as training care professionals. And all because Jane and her family were determined to not only get the best possible advice and care for her father but to help other families in the same situation.
Lucy was a former, successful TV producer but in 2009 she decided to leave the world of broadcasting to start the charity Child’s i Foundation. In Uganda, Government policy states that orphanages and institutions should be the last resort for children, and for the shortest time possible. Yet 50,000 children are growing up in Ugandan orphanages.
Lucy wanted to prove that it was possible to create families, not orphanages, by resettling children with their extended family (such as an aunt or grandparents) or finding foster or adoptive families looking to give a child a loving home. Child’s i has successfully found homes for over 200 children and brought love, joy and happiness to both the child and their family – creating happy, loving homes.
And it’s not just lives that have been changed, attitudes have been changed too. Thanks to the charity and other agencies, the Ugandan government has developed a National Action Plan for Alternative Care – which sets out how every child in Uganda will grow up in a family, not an institution. Isn’t that amazing?
Like Lucy, Jude also worked in the media for years but decided to set up her own business in 2007 to help put a spotlight on the stories and issues that go unheard. Sounddelivery not only champions the stories that go untold but gives people, charities and organisations the skills and confidence to tell their stories and highlight their issues.
Not content with helping her own clients, Jude runs two events every year (Social Media Exchange and Being The Story) to help up-skill and inspire people working at charities to tell stories better – whether it’s the stories of the people they help, or helping the people they support to share their story – in their own words.
Over the years, Jude has supported women who have been victims of domestic violence to find their voice and speak out, helped people who have experienced poverty to challenge media stereotypes and empowered young people to be part of the conversations that affect them. She is just awesome.
I’d love to know which woman or women you find inspiring. Tweet me at @LondonKirsty!