Emma Kirkwood Winner of the 2007 Leadership Achievement Award for Women
Founder, The Stillbirth Foundation
Emma Kirkwood is recognized for her tremendous effort in raising awareness and funds for the silent issue of Stillbirth, not likely to easily gain prominence in the community. Following the stillbirth of her daughter Olivia, in 2002, Emma Kirkwood promised her that she would establish a charity dedicated to stillbirth to raise awareness of stillbirth and to encourage research through fund raising. As she shared her story with those women who had given birth to a baby who had died, Emma felt they shared her dream and it gave them an opportunity to do something positive amidst their grief and pain.
"I had no previous experience in fundraising, so had embarked on a very steep learning curve. Armed with my passion and belief in the need for a stillbirth charity, I formed a group of mothers as the Stillbirth Foundation committee. We started with nothing. Through regular monthly meetings over coffee, with children running at our feet, we planned the Stillbirth Foundation. Finally, in Sydney in October 2005, the Stillbirth Foundation was launched over a fabulous lunch to a group of 120 bereaved families, friends and medical professional. Various Obstetricians, Neonatologists, Midwives and Social Workers were asked for their input and advice. The Stillbirth Foundation's income was the major indicator of success. The Foundation has now become the organisation to which the press refer for stillbirth matters. The Foundation is still a voluntary organisation with all funds raised going to our cause." (Emma Kirkwood)
The statistics show that 1 in every 100 babies born in Australia is stillborn or dies shortly after birth. Emma Kirkwood’s Stillbirth Foundation has a direct impact upon women. Both potential fathers and mothers involved in stillbirths must cope with the trauma associated with this. However, the impact upon the women involved is huge and deserving of direct and explicit attention as provided through Emma Kirkwood’s Foundation. Up until about 10 years ago, there was little provision for support for women (and their husbands and families) finding themselves in this position. The policy was to avoid the mother coming into contact with the dead child, and babies’ bodies were disposed of as ‘waste’ or buried en masse in unmarked graves.
There is still much work to be done, but through the Stillbirth Foundation under Emma Kirkwood's leadership, stillbirth families are able to work, in memory and in honour of their own baby, to increase public awareness of stillbirth and raise funds for research so that ultimately other families will not have to live the tragedy that is stillbirth. As the application points out, the project is providing support and comfort not only to women who have suffered the child’s death recently, but ‘up to 50 years ago!’ This project enables those involved to positively engage in grieving enabling them to go on, and to develop and grow rather than being caught in a negative cycle. The Stillbirth Foundation is the only fundraising organization in Australia dedicated to stillbirth. It operates to ultimately reduce the incidence of Stillbirth in Australia . Under the leadership of Emma the organization has quickly grown to become recognized by the medical community. The website of the Foundation is: http://www.stillbirthfoundation.org.au/
Finalist of CLW's 2007 Leadership Achievement Award for Women
Founder/Chief Executive Officer
Jessica Brown as The Finalist of the Award is recognized for her vision and outstanding achievements to break the cycle of abuse and suffering in Australian teenage girls by giving them a positive role model and having them attend a twelve month personal success program called the SISTER 2 sister Project. She founded a charity called of Life Changing Experiences Foundation with the purpose of funding and implementing this program. Since its inception in 2003, the Foundation has changed the lives of almost one hundred at risk teenage girls and their communities. The Project aims ultimately to encourage leadership and capacity for mentoring in the young women who are at risk and hence become involved in the Project. The encouragement of the young women to continue at school rather than dropping out is essential for enabling the young women to develop and grow positively. Jessica has an extensive waiting list of volunteers wishing to be big sister. This Project shows great initiative on the part of Jessica Brown, along with a capacity for leadership and persuasiveness in her ability to gain funding for the Project and support from government. The involvement of a large number of volunteers shows a high level of ability for leadership.
My vision was to break the cycle of abuse and suffering in Australian teenage girls by giving them a role model and having them attend a twelve month personal success program called The Sister 2 Sister Project. With the support of the wider community, I founded a charity called Life Changing Experiences Foundation with the purpose of funding and implementing this program. Since its inception, Life Changing Experiences Foundation has changed the lives of almost one hundred at risk teenage girls and their communities and by 2011 the program will reach over ten times this amount across four Australian states. Witnessing the girls achieve goals and seeing their mindset shift from "I can't" to "I can" is priceless - the best achievement we could ask for."
Short-listed Applicants for the 2007 Award are:
Indu Balachandran developed for Youth Challenge Australia, a Program that provides exchange and development opportunities for young people in Australia and India.
Indu Balachandran wanted "to establish concrete links between Australia an India has been on the forefront of my mind for a number of years. I have sought to do this through personal advocacy, my interest in Indian classical music, and more recently my professional involvement in community development. It is my privilege to contribute to a joint volunteer program that bridges tow countries and provides opportunities for young people to engage in meanigful exchange and development." (Indu Balachandran)
Liz Everard for the Body Esteem Project in Western Australiafor women affected by eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa and body image problems.
Liz Everard immigrated to Australia from the Netherlands in 2001. "It was my vision to start self help groups for women suffering from an eating disorder. I myself had suffered from an eating disorder and had benefited greatly from a self help group in the Netherlands. I wanted to implement the same model in Perth so that other women could experience the benefits of sharing with other women who had gone through a similar experience." (Liz Everard)
Gainore Atkins for developing the Hobsons Bay Women’s Referral Service in Victoria for women experiencing domestic violence or other abuse situations.
Gainore Atkins identified an urgent need for a local referral service which would primarily offer support and referral to women and families suffering from domestic abuse (either physical or verbal) in a rapidly growing area of the Hobsons Bay Municipality. Ms Atkins promoted her vision through a range of key networks that she developed within the local community over a period of time and through advertising in the local newspapers inviting people from the community to be a part of her vision. From this committee of management was founded which included women looking to assist those women and children in domestic violence situations in the local community. The service has been fully operational since 2006.
Celia Bray for the Festival of Dreams Project in Tasmania for helping young people realize their potential and move beyond obstacles posed by lack of jobs, lack of support and services.
Celia Bray wanted to transform the perception in the community of Tasmania as a place of little opportunity where many young people feel the need to leave. She wanted to empower young people to believe in their own vision and ability to make things happen in their communities and their lives. By traveling around Tasmania consulting with youth workers and young people to find out what they thought about the project idea and what they wanted, her vision developed into a shared vision. The initial Project was a 2 day state wide youth forum and subsequent mentoring program. Since the initial Project 3 other forums have been run, a youth leadership program was developed, and a partnership is being explored with a youth peace organisation in Canada. The project is now an annual event and is considered a valuable asset in the youth sector by the Minister for Education, Office of Youth Affairs, local government and community members. 3 young people have won youth awards including the 2006 Young Tasmanian of the year Award for their leadership skills and contribution to their communities from their participation in the Project and the opportunities they have created in their lives since the project.