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From mums to colleagues to neighbours, the world is full of incredible women who leave a lasting mark on those lucky enough to meet them. This International Women’s Day, we reached out to Concern staff across the globe to ask about the women who have influenced, inspired and shaped them into the people they are today. Here are their stories.
Anita McCabe, Regional Director of Horn of Africa
“When it comes to the most inspirational woman in my life, it has to be my mother. Her open-mindedness and care for others was evident to me from an early age and helped shape my own thinking and approach to life and work. She strongly encouraged me to attend university - which she didn’t get the opportunity to do until later in her life - and has always shown her pride in my choice of work in the humanitarian sector. Her lifelong interest in learning new things is a continuing inspiration to this day.”
Barbara White, Country Director, Ethiopia and Dominic MacSorley, CEO of Concern Worldwide
“Mary Robinson was a trail blazer in so many ways, starting her life as a lawyer, then moving into Irish politics to advance social justice. She was the first female President of Ireland and, as the United Nations High Commissioner Human Rights, used her platform to embed human rights across the UN system. She also advanced the issue of climate justice, highlighting how the poorest people in the world are the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. As a woman, a leader, a human rights and climate justice champion, she inspires me to follow her example and work towards ending extreme poverty.”
“Mary Robinson is the woman who inspires me. She’s the Former President of Ireland and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and currently a member of the Elders – a group founded by Nelson Mandela to resolve conflict, challenge injustice and promote ethical leadership. I was so inspired by Mary’s press briefing when she had just left Somalia in 1992. She was unafraid to show the emotion of what she had witnessed. For that and for her tireless work ever since, Mary Robinson has been a huge inspiration for me.”
Russell Gates, Country Director, Democratic Republic of Congo
“My mother ran away from home as a teenager, got married and had me and my brother very young. She raised us alone for most of our childhood but, despite that, managed to work full-time, study part-time to get a degree and climb from being a factory worker to heading a team. I still don’t know how she did it. During the pandemic, she retrained and is now a full time care worker for seriously ill young people. It’s a very tough job but a good fit for her. She is the reason I thought I could achieve anything when I was a young boy.”
Anushree Rao, Director of Policy and Campaigns
“My mum has been the bedrock of our family. From catering to everyone’s needs, to raising two kids, to balancing discipline with giving us the freedom to make decisions and learn from our mistakes. She embraced a fairly unsettling life as the wife of an Indian Naval officer and always looks at the brighter side. She has a real zest for life and faces challenges with real fortitude. She is one woman who has always inspired me and continues to do so.”
Fiona Acheng, Former Emergency Nutritionist, South Sudan
“Barbara White is the woman who has really impacted me. She was the Country Director of Concern Uganda when I worked there in 2017. Barbra helped build my confidence by sharing her story with my team of how she became a Country Director, after failing many job interviews. One time, Barbra came for a field visit to my duty station. We had reserved the front seat of the car for her and, with me being visibly pregnant, she gave up the seat for me. That meant a lot. To me, Barbara White is super woman.”
Austin Fahy, Street Fundraising Team Leader
“I have never met a more caring, determined person than my mother, Pauline Moran-Fahy. She continues to inspire me to pursue that which is worth pursuing and stirred in me a sense that so much can be achieved with enough willpower and perseverance.”
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