World of change

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page - By DENISE S. CAHILL

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.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek­mu­ni­ d465941

Adele Car­les.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek­mu­ni­ d465941

Adele Car­les and Su­san Saleeba, founder of Nakuru Hope.

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