A Women’s Day event celebrates the achievements of a range of different career women, each with inspiring stories
Diverse and inspirational Australian women united at the Queensland Multicultural Centre over morning tea for an event organised by the Global Organisation People of Indian Origin – GOPIO Queensland Women’s Council as part of Women’s International Week.
Five women from varied fields were acknowledged for their contribution to Australian society and overseas: Eleni Seitis, who suffers from 90 percent blindness and is a natural therapist; youngest Detective Senior Constable Jodie Randall; Ashely-Kate Schlenner, who has represented Australia in the 7th Down Syndrome Swimming Championships and is headed to the 8th one very soon in Florence, Italy; Manuela Whitford, founder of Friends with Dignity, and Sharon Orapeleng, an activist and advocate for social inclusion and equality.
Eleni said that her visual impairment has never come in the way of her work. The founder of Oasis Natural Health Foundation, Eleni said, “With the natural therapy work that I do, I have developed a special technique called Energy Systems Healing, which incorporates a mixture of Bowen Therapy, massage and intuitive healing work on chronically ill and disabled children here in Australia and overseas.” Eleni also trains therapists, teachers, doctors and parents on this technique.
On her disability being a positive, she revealed, “The disability that I have is actually perfectly suited to the work that I do. I see with my hands, I use my brain and I have a gift that I can impart to others. The healing work is what I am really passionate about. I give everything a go!”
For others living with a disability, Eleni advised, “You don’t know what you can do until you give it a go. Step outside your comfort zone and do something that you have never done before.”
Down Syndrome swimmer Ashley-Kate, 24, who has earned the nickname ‘pocket rocket’ thanks to being the shortest swimmer on the Australia team, was quick with her observation, “And you can’t let all the boys have all the fun!” No doubt this can be taken to be her message to all women on the occasion of International Women’s Day.
Commenting on challenges faced in her everyday work life, Detective Senior Constable Jodie Randall said, “As career women we face different challenges to our male counterparts and that will never change because women have different physiological factors that impact upon our work life. If we choose to be we are baby makers, mothers and more often than not the maid, chef, chauffeur and household cleaner. We are nurturers who are genetically dispositioned to taking care of our family. Juggling all of these personal life challenges with a career is not easy and it is not a task that is taken on lightly. Each individual woman needs to do what feels right for them.”
True that, Jodie!
Laying emphasis on hope, Manuela observed, “Believe in yourself, celebrate yourself, and celebrate every other woman amongst you. We are all strong and powerful, and give hope to every woman out there. With hope you have purpose and with purpose you have dignity.” Her not-for-profit organisation provides practical assistance to aid individuals/families affected by domestic violence.
“I wanted to showcase the champions that we have just around us,” Amitha Jaggesar, President, GOPIO Queensland Women’s Council, told Indian Link. “We’ve managed to bring together people from diverse backgrounds and focused on the success they have achieved despite some of their different disabilities.”
Pumped with inspiration and positivity after listening to each of the speakers, an excerpt from Detective Senior Constable Jodie Randall speech continues to resonate in my mind. She said, “For me, achieving success has not been easy but it is my understanding that the difference between successful and not successful people isn’t talent, it’s persistence.”