Meet the 2019 Melbourne Winter Changemakers
As we lead up to the Random Hacks of Kindness 2019 Winter Hackathon on May 18-19, we'll be introducing you to our new Changemakers in a series of articles, telling you their amazing stories and what they're hoping to achieve by working with RHoK and our amazing community of hackers.
By Eddie Chapman
Create Care Global
Mama Victoria lives in South Africa and cares for a family of 12 children, none of them hers. She took them in because they were orphaned, abandoned, or impoverished. The youngest is three years old.
Every morning they make a cooking fire, wash their clothes, and clean their small ram-shackle shanty before the children set off to the mission school. They walk kilometres, carrying their books in their arms. At night, they go to bed as soon as it is dark. They sleep on the dirt floor, or on newspaper or cardboard if they can find any, huddled together under an inadequate mosaic of blankets. The older children would like to study, but there is not enough money for candles or kerosene.
We know about Mama Victoria because she receives some limited funds from a grassroots organisation we support through Knit-a-square, our first project.
Helen lives in the United States and belongs to a church. She’s also an active community member of KAS (Knit-a-square). Helen heard about Mama Victoria and her children and organised for beautifully knitted squares to make blankets for the children.
There are endless opportunities to help women like Mama Victoria and her children. They need beds, clothes, shoes, school bags, solar lamps, and educational material.
How can we find more Helens, who could connect directly with more Mama Victoria’s? Using your creativity, how can we switch the demand and supply dialogue to all the Helens and Mama Victorias of the world?
CreateCare Global Incorporated (CCG) connects creativity with children in need. Its primary program was Knit-a-square (KAS), a project providing handmade blankets, hats, toys, and clothing for some of Africa’s millions of orphaned and vulnerable (OVC) children. Through their worldwide community of more than 20,000 in 60 countries, CCG discovered a globally tribe that would help these children, given the opportunity. They also understood through a successful teacher resource,, which more than 1,000 schools took up, that school children are naturally compassionate and ready to help.
Internationally, CreateCare Global partners with grassroots organisations to identify what can make a positive impact in the lives of millions of orphaned and vulnerable children. In Australia, they empower parents, teachers, and children to get involved creatively, and to take action, because one small act can change the life of a child in need.
CreateCare Global: creativity and compassion wrapped in the human spirit.
It was September 2015. A story in The Age about a couple of guys donating all of their profits to combat homelessness by selling crepes from a van had caught the attention of Cliff and Simon and sparked a thought..
Let’s find more of these good businesses and plan a good old-fashioned Christmas party crawl (just with less alcohol). But they had a problem; while they knew they existed, they didn’t know how to find them.
And if this was a problem for then, it had to be for others too.
So from this came the launch of The Good Xmas Trail, a website to help consumers find some of Melbourne’s most inspiring social enterprises for Christmas parties and gifts.
With more people hungry to discover and find information about consuming more conscientiously this has then led to the development of Goodsmiths - a website that helps you find and choose social enterprises and B Corps when eating, drinking, celebrating and shopping. They now support around 100 social enterprises and social sector startups, who between them are working towards every one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
These businesses vary in size and impact but all share the common need to grow while maximising their social and/ or environmental impact. They’re looking for new channels to market, not just the same tried and tested marketplaces or e-commerce platforms.
Goodsmiths are aware that online shopping as it currently stands is problematic (with a 68% average abandonment rate for purchases), and so want to work with RHoK to explore how we can bypass the traditional shopping cart experience and instead enable people wanting to support good businesses by purchasing through their social media feed, and in doing so support these businesses and grow the ethical purchasing market even further.
Good Karma Network
Back in 2016, Amy started a Facebook group called the Kensington Good Karma Network (KGKN), as a way for residents in her area to help each other. The idea came after Churchouse lost her black rescue cat, Bear. She dropped flyers around her block and Bear was eventually found. But during the anxious wait, Churchouse thought there had to be better ways to "talk to the people" – those in her immediate neighbourhood.
She also thought she might have solutions to other problems that neighbours were experiencing including things in her house that she could lend, and vice versa, but how would she find out what everyone needed? A Facebook group where you could ask for help from your neighbours was the answer.
After 9 months there were 2500 locals doing wonderful things for each other and when people from around the country heard contacted her to see how they could start a Good Karma Network in their suburb. Less than two years later the KGKN has inspired the creation of 44 more Good Karma Networks around Australia with a combined total of over 62000 members and 90 volunteer administrators across these groups.
The Kensington network has hatched over 25 sub-groups, including neighbours who run, cycle, cook or speak French together. There are plant swaps, clothes swaps, a babysitting co-op and a series of backyard concerts with local musicians raising money for local charities. The dog walking group is throwing puppy parties. There's a move to make Kensington plastic-bag free. And loads of stuff is recycled and given away, from cocktail glasses to cubby houses to homemade soup delivered when a member was too sick to get out of bed to go to the supermarket to get some food.
Amy believes that a new model of financial support for organisations who are aiming to connect and empower humans to make a difference (such as the Good Karma Networks) is required. One which also facilitates our community of innovators and changemakers to connect to help each other. A win-win-win platform.
So she’s coming to RHoK so that just as she has helped so many others, we can help her, through helping to build a technological platform that allows community members to connect and redistribute resources (help and assistance as required based on need) to minimise resource expenditure, environmental impact and create human connections that support our health and well being, while also empowering others.
Survive & Thrive
8 years ago, just after Christmas, Snezana woke early in the morning to find her house on fire. Unable to save it, despite the efforts of the MFB, she found herself not two weeks after Christmas standing on an empty block of land, having lost everything that she knew and that resembled her family’s life.
Like all families and individuals who go through the trauma of losing a house to fire, there are not only a million things that need to be worked through - Insurance, demolition, accommodation, coordinating with Council, utilities, transport - but also a whirlwind of emotions and painful stages of recovery.
What stood out as a massive hole to Snezana and her friend and colleague Meg, is that there is very little currently to support survivors of fire once the firefighters put out the fire and move on. It’s very much left to the individual to find out what they need to do physically and practically, but also to begin to put themselves back together emotionally and mentally. And this can go on for months and years for everyone involved.
Snez and Meg want to use their experience to make sure that no one is left to go through this experience alone and unsupported. Snez has used her experience to extensively document all of the practical and emotional steps that are important to surviving and thriving post fire - and they are needing RHoK’s help to put this into a form and help build the channels so that this information gets into the hands of the people who need it, as soon as possible and in a form that they can access and will be able to help them the most.