Three altruistic women inspired to help others

By Maria Kyriacou

Three altruistic women inspired to help others
Despite busy work and family lives, these three mums are making an impact in their community.

Women are often deeply affected by the challenges affecting their families and friends, with many spurred into action beyond their own stories to create charities or organisations that help others.

Cleary O’Brien’s son Ethan inspired her charity Blanketlovez after he was born weighing a mere 680g. Ethan’s extended hospital stay provided Cleary with the idea to give back by doing something the American ex-pat loves – quilting.

Her idea to provide seriously ill children stuck long-term in hospital, with their very own bright, cheerful handmade quilts has seen her charity expand from a local operation to a national one. Blanketlovez is mostly self-funded and staffed by volunteers across Australia.

Yesterday Blanketlovez provided the newly opened Orange Ronald McDonald House (RMH) with almost 50 quilts to brighten the children’s rooms who’ll be staying there.

An emotional Ms.Cleary said,” My goal of creating happy rooms for  families during one of the most stressful events of their lives with seriously ill children had actually been achieved thanks to the efforts of so many loving volunteers.”


When Sylvana Mahmic’s son Karim was diagnosed with a disability over 21 years ago she needed help to understand how to help him learn, eat, walk and talk. She said,

“I understand how important early help is, and my experience of early intervention laid the foundations of a good life for Karim.”

Now, as the CEO of Plumtree: Pathways For Children and Families she wants all families to have the opportunity for a good start.

The service provides family centered education, therapy, information, training and many other services to families of children with special needs. It is a haven for its inner west Sydney community with over 10 bilingual staff members ensuring its services are as inclusive as possible.

Plumtree CEO Sylvana Mahmic

Ms. Mahmic is passionate about the upcoming NDIS, which she says can’t come quickly enough. She hopes it will enable organisations like Plumtree to provide a tailored level of the best care possible to families of children with disabilities and beyond.

Helen Agatha launched the NSW chapter of Essentials for Women soon after she’d had her third child. Despite being busy with a newborn and a freelance graphic design career, Helen wanted to contribute to women less fortunate than herself.

Essentials for Women, provides donations of underwear, sanitary products, toiletries and nappies to women who are struggling financially or escaping from domestic violence.

Donated personal care items for charity Essentials for Women NSW

With the Federal Government’s cuts to women’s services including refuges, some women are finding it hard to pay for shelter let alone personal products necessary for their dignity and sense of self.

Ms Agatha says despite taxing her time wise, the charity fulfills an altruistic desire. She says that giving begets giving,” So far I’ve had heaps of people offering to help with picks up and drop offs in their local area.”

These three women are just a tiny number that are contributing to the greater good.

Other charities with passionate women at the helm include: Little Balloons Project, Touched By Olivia, Mummies Paying it Forward, Running for Premature Babies and Neuroblastoma Australia.

Do you know an amazing woman who is helping others?



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