Right Now I am Living My Dream

 

Right now I am living my dream, travelling through Australia with my family and researching amazing changemakers and changemaking projects. My passion is learning how change can be successful and sharing this knowledge.  Next year I will be releasing my book “Being a Changemaker”, a collection of stories and resources for anyone who is up for making a difference.

Inspiration is all around us when we tune into it – let me introduce just some of the amazing changemakers in Australia.

Sarah Brown is the manager of Purple House in Alice Springs.  A health service for indigenous people, but not like a health service you might normally picture.  Purple House describes itself  as a place where
people can call their own. Dialysis patients can come in to the Purple
House to have a cuppa, do their washing, see the GP, cook damper and
kangaroo tails, or get help or support. How does this happen?  The key to changing a health service from white rooms with sterile, sometimes frightening machines and furniture where people are comfortable is to deliver a service that is run by the patients.

Cooper Pedy isn’t the most pleasant looking town, but definitely unique and opened up a new reflection for my journey of the changemakers in Australia’s history.  Ed Colley is one of the founding people of the Cooper Pedy community. He established rules for camp sanitation and provisions for a media service for the opal fields.

My visit to the Mildura Chocolate Company affirmed the power of changemaking to sustains business and provide real lasting social solutions.  The Mildura Chocolate Company are a social enterprise which supplies one of Australia’s most sublime chocolate producers, Kennedy & Wilson and offer employment opportunities for adults with a disability. This company has sustained its business through supplying a quality home-made product, recruiting and retaining volunteers and designing new innovative niche products such as personalised chocolate bars.  I suspect the foundation of the business is deeper than delivery of product and it is the people and community who make the chocolate day in and day out.

We stopped briefly at Port Augusta for supplies and I couldn’t help but reflect on the coal versus renewables situation in Australia.  The town has relied on the power station for jobs, but in recent times there has been a new story emerging; Re-Power Augusta, an alliance and an push for solar thermal power and Alinta Energy have taken notice.  I look forward to finding out more how changemakers are making progress on a path that seems impossible!

Nothing could prepare me for the impact of seeing Uluru for the first time.  There was something about that rock that took my breath away.  The surrounding landscape was flat for miles and miles.  Uluru has a presence of power and symbolism, I just could not look away.

I didn’t know if I was going to climb Uluru.  But on reading the sign that the traditional owners of the land request that the rock not be climbed, I knew then I would not climb. I was saddened to learn that white people from the 1950s onwards used this land for tourism without permission and disrespecting and damaging this significant place.  I was heartened to hear that change has happened and it is still happening.

The Federal Government returned the Title back to the traditional owners and now it is managed in partnership with traditional owners.  The most inspiring thing about this is that through signage and education the number of visitors that now climb Uluru is down to 38%.  When it gets down to 20% access to Uluru will be closed.

It’s a really interesting, respectful and long term change process to do it this way.  The manager of this site could have chosen to close it as soon as they got the new Title back, but rather choice was given with a request for visitors to understand and connect to place.

If you’d like to be part of “Being a Changemaker” project you can do so in these ways:

Send in your own tips and stories about being an effective changemaker.

Send in your ideas on inspiring changemakers I could meet on my travels.

It is easy to get involved just leave a comment below or on Make a Change facebook page and I will get right back to you.

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