JESSICA GALEA, 27, MUM TO PENNY, 2 (VIC)
Jessica runs a small online business called Penny&CO, selling handmade children’s clothing. She has steadily built up a social media following of over 40,000 mums, and uses this profile to raise funds for young sexual abuse survivors.
“I grew up in a poor family, my mum was a single mum and we didn’t have a lot of anything. When the business took off I suddenly had all this money that I’d never had before,” says Jessica. “I knew that I wanted to help kids somewhere.”
Jessica chose to support the Play Kenya charity after learning about their Rafiki Mwema safe house for very young girls who have been sexually abused. “I cried for about two weeks looking at the stories online of these kids. I feel so fortunate that I can help them because it’s an amazing organisation.”
As well as personally sponsoring two girls, Jessica leveraged her business as a platform to reach out to other mums, donating 100 per cent of profits from the sale of certain products to the charity.
So far, the donations have funded a playground for play therapy, helping the girls to feel like children again. Jessica has also enlisted the help of mummy blogger, Constance Hall, to help raise $200,000 for a safe house for older girls. “I really want to do as much as I can to help these girls who have gone through some horrific things,” she says.