World of change
THIS year’s International Women’s Day theme – Be Bold for Change – resonates with former Fremantle MLA and lawyer Adele Carles. There has been plenty of change in the mother of three’s life over the past five years, most significantly last year when she spent two months volunteering at a maternity hospital in Somaliland that aims to stop female genital mutilation.
“The Africa experience has changed my perspective because I’ve seen things I cannot unsee,” Ms Carles said.
“My eyes are always open, I’m aware of the need to do more.
“We are global citizens and there’s a whole world out there.”
ADELE Carles has focused on her three teenage daughters and working with community groups since losing the State Election in 2013, when she ran as an independent.
But last year she discovered Edna Adan, a former first lady and foreign minister of Somaliland who started a maternity hospital in 2002, helping women affected by female genital mutilation (FGM) and working towards stopping the “barbaric practice”.
“I’m a mother of three teenage girls myself and as I read more about it I realised if my daughters were there, they’d have been mutilated by now,” Ms Carles said.
“Edna inspired me. At 60, she could have retired in New York or London but instead she stayed in her war-torn country and started a maternity hospital.”
Ms Carles spent two months writing funding proposals for the non-profit Edna Adan Maternity Hospital, distributing aid, writing speeches for the founder and attended a global 10-day workshop to establish a fiveyear strategic plan to end FGM in Somaliland.
“When I got back, Edna told me she needed washing machines for the hospital,” she said.
As Ms Carles was working towards raising money for the washing machines, she had a chance meeting with Susan Saleeba in a Fremantle pub.
Ms Saleeba founded Nakuru Hope, a project providing education, health and food to families in the Kaptembwa slums, in 2008.
Soon after, Ms Carles returned to Somaliland and stopped at Nakuru Hope for a few days visiting families in the slums and reading books to the children in the non-profit’s new library. Ms Saleeba said Ms Carles inspired her because she had “weathered the storm”.
“She hasn’t sat there and said ‘poor me’, she’s discovered there’s people so far worse off than you can imagine,” she said.
Ms Carles is guest speaker at Nakuru Hope’s Inspirational Women’s Luncheon fundraiser at the Royal Perth Yacht Club.
Adele Carles and Susan Saleeba, founder of Nakuru Hope.