Why I do what I do? Business storytelling at its compelling best
‘In July 1985, 5 year old Eve van Grafhorst was banned from attending her local kindergarten in Kincumber, NSW. Eve was HIV positive and had contracted HIV from a blood transfusion when she was born. This was the time of the grim reaper ads about AIDS and families in the town of Kincumber would cross the street to avoid Eve and her family. Completely ostracised Eve and her family migrated to Hastings, New Zealand where I met her while working for the newspaper.
One day in New Zealand Eve decided to raise money for AIDS awareness by selling hugs for $1.00 at the local mall. Everyone was giving her a hug and helping her raise money except for this one man who was watching from a distance. I asked him if he planned to give her a hug and he told me ‘I am scared to give her a hug as I might catch something’. I told Eve and she went over to the man and gently talked to him for nearly an hour at the end of which he gave her a hug and $1.00 and there wasn’t a dry eye in the mall. When I saw how this little girl could work for an hour to raise $1.00 to make a difference I realised how much I could do to make a difference.
This was my turning point and I decided to set up my company m.a.d.woman, committed to encouraging, inspiring and enabling people to make a positive difference in the environment, community and to the lives of people who need support. Eve died peacefully aged 11 in her mother’s arms. She remains one of the most inspiration people in my life.’
We recently had the privilege of hearing this story shared by Social entrepreneur Melina Schamroth, on why she set up her business. We were also so delighted to learn that on on Friday night m.a.d.woman was named the National Winner of the 2011 Telstra Business Awards – Yellow Pages Social Responsibility category. GO Melina!