Fired with dreams of becoming an artist from an early age, Holly Marsden long relied on art to bring her joy. However, art become so much more to her after she endured a vicious sexual assault. She turned to painting to get her through her darkest days and now guides others to pursue their passion for art. She believes, quite simply, that art has the power to save lives.
This Aussie lad launched a non-profit, Dreamfit, to fulfil the dreams of people with a disability. Dreamfit transforms mechanical equipment such a motorbikes and bicycles so people with varying levels of physical ability can experience the thrill of action once more. In the process Darren has captured the hearts of many for his innovative mind, caring nature and can-do attitude.
This young Danish woman has dedicated her life to saving Nigeria’s ‘witch children’. From one day to the next these children are branded a witch, ousted from their families, often tortured, sometimes murdered. Outraged at the horrific practice, Anja moved to Nigeria to rescue accused children. She then homes those she saves in an orphanage and seeks to overcome the horrors they’ve endured with the healing power of love.
Australian of the Year for the Northern Territory Will MacGregor has helped thousands of troubled Aboriginal youths to overcome drug addiction and find a new hope for life through Bush Mob, which offers a safe house, horse healing program and escorted bush getaways. He says it’s incredible to witness the transformations that occur when these people take a break from their everyday lives, connect with their elders and heal with the magic of nature.
Evie Farrell was drowning in the Sydney rat-race, disconnected from her five-year-old daughter and yearning for something more. After the unexpected death of a friend she decided enough was enough. She quit her job, rented out her house and embarked on an 18-month travel adventure to reconnect with her daughter. She has gained so much from the experience that she now urges other mums to unleash the chains of convention, swap possessions for memory-making and embrace the rich tapestry of experiences that travelling as a family can offer.
Shocked at the horrors of the Syrian refugee crisis, a young American mother is easing the burden for thousands of refugee families by donating thousands of baby carriers to people fleeing their war-ravaged homes. Through her now burgeoning charity Carry the Future, Cristal has not only helped refugees but also been personally transformed from a cynic to someone who is continually amazed by people’s genuine desire to do good in the world.
Parenting educator and author Maggie Dent has earned the love of a nation’s parents for her funny, practical and insightful advice on how to raise healthy and resilient children. What life path has Maggie travelled to become such an advocate for saving our stressed-out modern-day kids?
American dance instructor Lucy Wallace is transforming criminals serving long-term or life sentences by introducing them to the magic of dance. In doing so, she has forged powerful relationships with people she’d previously regarded with fear, had her preconceptions shattered, and discovered the beauty in regarding fellow human beings as they are, without the weight of judgement.
Carina Hoang fled South Vietnam in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, endured a traumatic escape from which she barely survived, and now returns to the Indonesian isles to which she once escaped on an annual pilgrimage to uncover the lost graves of other Vietnamese refugees. Guided by faith, spiritual belief and the knowledge it was so nearly her laying in an abandoned grave, her efforts are bringing desperately awaited relief to families yearning to give a proper burial to long-dead loved ones.
‘Gangsta Gardener’ Ron Finley is leading a movement in which people across the globe are transforming abandoned blocks, roadside verges and unloved pieces of vacant dirt into vegetable patches and gardens. The craze is not only beautifying forgotten areas but bringing people together, providing fresh food in areas dominated by fast food and reminding people that they have the power to shape their own future.
WA Australian of the Year for 2016 Anne Carey rose to fame for having the courage to volunteer to fight the ravages of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone. She is now embarking on a new challenge – urging Australians to have the courage to be kind. She says it was courage that helped overcome Ebola, and it’s courage that can help stamp out two threats she sees facing Australia – the insidious culture of workplace bullying and discrimination against refugees.
Patricia Lavater has saved hundreds of lives through her work with troubled and drug-addicted young women. She takes women who’ve given up on life, and counsels them, helps them detox and, perhaps most importantly, reminds them of their inner potential.