I have just finished reading Anna Funder’s masterpiece, “All that I am” and I am speechless. Anna put in five years of strenuous research which provides a rich background to her empathic approach to her characters. An inspiring piece of work, she deserves every accolade she has received. I particularly loved Dora who was so passionate and courageous.
I am more and more in awe of courageous women and I’m privileged to be entwined, to a degree, in aspects of the lives of some amazingly courageous women. I have mentioned the book I am presently writing in which I am endeavouring to capture the essence of Donna Cooper, founder of the Cambodian Kids Foundation. The more I get to know about her, the more I am inspired by, not only her courage, but her vision of what she can see is missing for the Cambodian people and what she can offer. She has offered so much of herself and as I plunge into her story I am beginning to understand what drives her and I am filled with a certain sense of déjà vu. We haven’t decided on a title yet. I am leaning towards “Colour me Donna” as one of her clothing outlets is called “Colour me Cooper” – whatever, I want the by line to be, “Empowering Cambodia, one village at a time.” I love that empowerment is her motivation. So often we want to just fix things, but empowerment is far more sustainable.
I have supported the vision of another inspiring young woman, Josephine Cashman, who also wants to empower her people. I have stood on the sidelines for a number of years watching her vision as a pioneer of Indigenous Impact Funding. There were moments when it seemed everything was conspiring against her and all I could say to her was that this was her vision and she would eventually succeed. I strongly believe that when we have a vision, purpose, goal – whatever you want to call it, and you do all that you can, there comes a time that you just need to allow things to unfold, never letting go of the end result. I was so thrilled to receive a call from her a few nights ago and at last her ambitious building project for Indigenous communities, has taken off and she has been able to acquire the right people who believe in her vision and at last it is happening. She has displayed enormous courage and vision to make things happen and is now working with another remarkable Indigenous woman, Marcia Langford. Marcia asked for a few coaching sessions and I wondered what I could offer her as she has been my hero for years. I possibly learned more from her than she did from me but we certainly have a mutual love and respect.
There are a number of others I could name and I feel so blessed to have them in my life. I share with most of them a very poignant attribute, we are all survivors – well more than survivors – of violent childhoods. We all feel that these experiences have helped us be better operators. Donna said recently that if a fairy came along and offered to wipe away her past, she would refuse, because she recognises that her past, as terrible as it was, has been her motivation to help the world be a better place.
Terrible things happen to people and some survive and are able to reach out and catch those who fall, whilst others stay in their role as victims not knowing how different their life could be. It has been a life time goal for me to move past all that I am, and become all that I want to be. Still a long way to go!