We are excited to announce Steph Woollard, the Founder & CEO of Seven Women will be speaking at the Fairly Educated Conference 2012. Seven Women is a Fair Trade wholesale and retail business that sells handmade felt and knitted items as part of a grassroots development project that empowers women through income generation.
During a trip to Nepal, Steph met seven women with disabilities who were operating out of a tin shed and experiencing harsh discrimination. Having witnessed the stark contrast between her quality of life and that of many women living in the impoverished country, she felt she had to do something to make a difference. Together with the seven women Steph created a women’s skills training centre, where women learn skills that empower them economically.
Fast forward to today and the initial seven women have now taken on managerial roles at the centre, which now employs over 100 women, and are keen to pass on their skills to others.
Check out Steph’s answers to our ‘serious’ and ‘irreverent’ questions below. To start with we asked Steph to select a photo that had meaning to her and she selected the photo below saying ”this photo to me encompasses empowerment.”
1). What’s your topic at the conference, and how will you be exploring it?
My topic is how a grass roots development project is begun against all odds and developed into a sustainable enterprise- all the challenges that can be faced along the way and the success it has brought the producers in the form of social and economic empowerment.
2). What social justice issues are you passionate about?
Equality, community and inclusion.
3). What inspires you to do what you do?
I don’t like to see anyone suffering due to a ‘lack’ in a planet of plenty. The only difference between rich and poor is that we were born into different circumstances and therefore those with enough to share have an obligation to do something about it. Pay it forward.
4). Do you have any thoughts for attendees such as tips or websites you would like them to check out?
Www.seven-women.com and a you tube clip called ‘The girl effect’
and blog post below:
5). What’s your most memorable travel moment?
When 2 of the women at the centre were saying goodbye before I hopped on a plane to come back to Australia and they said bye, they began walking on their one hour walk home and turned back a few hundred metres down the road to come back and give me a hug (which is not something women do in Nepalese culture).
6). What’s your greatest extravagance? (or guilty pleasure?)
7). When did you last have a belly laugh?
Great and interesting random question. I seem to have a lot of belly laughs…
at a public speaking camp in the bush where we had to dress up as preachers and stand up in front of everyone and start ranting about a nursery rhyme ‘humpty dumpty’ (had to be there) can’t be explained.