Trigger warning: domestic violence.
When we sat down to plan our 2023 International Women’s Day campaign, we shared ideas, talked about the women who inspire us, people and brands we could collab with… but a thought I kept coming back to was, what can we do as a team that will actually make an impact?
I researched this year’s IWD theme, #EmbraceEquity and then went back to see what the day truly stands for.
International Women's Day is a global day celebrated each year on March 8 as a focal point in the women's rights movement, bringing attention to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.
Violence and abuse against women stuck in my mind and again I thought, what can our team do? What can Le Beauty do to help?
I started Googling charities that work directly with women and it wasn’t long until I was on a Zoom call with Debbie from RizeUp Australia. After speaking to her for close to an hour, I went back to the team and told them about RizeUp – a community-driven organisation of passionate men and women, dedicated to supporting the many families affected by domestic and family violence.
RizeUp don’t just raise awareness through speaking engagements, they have created various programs to support and empower the brave families – from helping to create a new home for victims fleeing a violent household and supporting children in their healing process, to raising much-needed funds for families left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
Setting up the home
Five of us met for an early morning coffee before making our way to the home. When we arrived, we were greeted by Julie and Kon from RizeUp. Julie briefed us on safety procedures, the tasks for the day and told us we were setting up a home for a woman who’s currently in Refuge accommodation.
Julie told us that when putting all the new appliances, products and gifts out, we should think of "setting the home up as though it’s Christmas morning… waking up to all your presents under the tree." It's about making the survivor/s feel excited about their new home and being able to unwrap, open and organise where they want things to go, to make it their own.
We started in teams. Emma and I began dusting and cleaning while Hoang, Issy & Megs unloaded the truck before they started the flatpacks. Emma and I unboxed kitchen, laundry, and bathroom products neatly, displaying everything as beautiful as possible, like presents under the tree.
Once the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom were finished, we all came together in the lounge room to set up the remaining furniture and complete the final touches (embracing our inner interior designer), while listening to Julie and Kon tell us their experiences as volunteers/employees at RizeUp and how it’s changed their lives.
We walked through the house, a completely different space to just a few hours before. We had built a safe space for someone to call home.
We ended the day with a team lunch discussing the experience, how it made us feel and hoping the woman will feel joy walking into her new home.
Q&A with Debbie, Business Lead at RizeUp
How did you become involved in RizeUp?
Debbie: “I began as a volunteer setting up the homes. I ran my own home-based business so had more time to give and it wasn’t long before I took on the volunteer role of Events Lead. I was excited to be offered full-time employment with RizeUp in 2021 and I closed down my business to take up this opportunity.”
What’s the best part about working for RizeUp?
Debbie: “Knowing that you are making a difference to some of the most vulnerable in our community.”
Can you share any stories that have stuck with you during your time at RizeUp?
Debbie: “Every story is different and every story or home set up stays with me. But a home I had helped set up for an older lady does sit with me as her injuries were so severe, she needed to have a feather topper on the bed to ensure she could get a comfortable and safe night’s sleep. Breaks my heart.
“It’s so rewarding to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We never meet the families we support but knowing we help change lives is enough reward. Everyone deserves to be safe!”
How to volunteer
There are many ways to volunteer at RizeUp. From helping with home set ups, working behind the scenes in the sheds, driving the truck, selling raffle tickets at events and so much more. For more info click here.
How to donate
Whether you have items to donate (i.e. bedside tables, new and packaged bath towels, linen, beauty, kitchen appliances, homewares) or you would like to make a monetary donation, you can find all the information here.
Visit RizeUp Australia website here.
Are you affected by domestic or family violence? Connect with services in your local area
For more information call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) OR IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 000