Women Inspire With The Power Of One


Guests at Bass Coast Shire Council’s International Women’s Day brunch recently were left inspired and perhaps a little teary thanks to two wonderful guest speakers.

Inspired by the theme ‘The Power Of One’, Jan Hewitt and Jude Donohoo spoke on the day about their charity efforts, both in Australia and overseas.

Korumburra resident and creator of Jan’s Plan, Ms Hewitt, told guests about her fundraising and volunteer work with orphans and families in Cambodia, accompanied by a slideshow of photographs from her travels.

“When I travelled to Siam Reap in Cambodia in 2008, I was struck by the plight of the people after the Khmer Rouge regime,” Ms Hewitt said.

“They were anxious for education, and desperate to learn and restore their country to its former condition. I was sorry to leave them and thought “What can I do?””

Upon her return, Ms Hewitt began gathering educational materials and clothes, as well as raising money to buy school uniforms, books and everyday necessities like soap and shampoo for the students of a local school boasting around 600 students, but only three teachers.

Through her own fundraising efforts, Ms Hewitt now collects around $12,000 every year to support the Happy Family Orphanage in Siam Reap, and has helped five students go on to tertiary education. She also works with New Hope Cambodia, which provides free medical care, education and food packages to families in need.

Phillip Island resident and founder of You Are My Sunshine Foundation (YAMS), Ms Donohoo, shared a short film and spoke about the charity established in September 2009 in memory of her beloved granddaughter, Kahlilla, who was a neuroblastoma sufferer.

“Imagine being told that your child or grandchild has a disease for which there is no cure,” Ms Donohoo said.

“Our lives were changed forever when Kahilla was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive and deadly childhood cancer. Just before she died, she said “I feel like crap and it’s not fair”, and I promised her that day I would find a cure.”

YAMS has gone on to raise almost $600,000, with the charity run entirely by dedicated volunteers.

“If I can do it, anybody can – you just need fire in your belly,” Ms Donohoo said.

She also thanked the local Lions Club District for its support of YAMS.

Council would like to thank the guest speakers, Ms Hewitt and Ms Donohoo, and the event sponsors: RACV Inverloch Resort, Silverwater Resort, Island Healing, The Coffee Collective, Inspiration Hair Design, Purple Hen Winery, A Garden of Thoughts, Tropical Zone Flowers and Cr Clare Le Serve.

If you would like to make a donation to Jan’s Plan, donations can be made online through the My Cause website at: www.mycause.com.au/page/67311

Or via direct bank deposit to: Jan’s Plan, BSB # 633000, Account # 151580933

If you would like to make a donation to You Are My Sunshine Foundation, donations can be made online through the Everyday Hero website at: www.everydayhero.com.au/yamsfoundation

Or for more information visit: yamsfoundation.org.au