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How $200 can lift a woman out of poverty

30 May 2013

By Maria Padisetti – CEO RedHands (not-for-profit) -

How Can I Make A Difference? This is what I kept asking whenever I saw a woman battered by her husband, a baby girl abandoned in a rubbish bin or when I heard of the high incidences of female infanticide in countries like India and China. I kept thinking that the problem was too big and that I could not possibly make a difference. I had so many reasons... I thought that these women were too far away, I needed to have a lot of money myself before I could give and I also assumed that someone else would help!

In 2004 my 4 year old son inspired me into action – when the Tsunami hit Sri Lanka, India and other countries, he walked into the bank and donated ALL the money from his piggy bank. It wasn’t a lot but he did not think that the problem was too big, he didn’t think that he was too far away from these people who needed us or that he didn’t have enough! It was a huge wakeup call for me to do something. As I read more about how to help I realised that women living in poverty across the world don’t need a lot. Just $200 can help them start a business and start their journey towards financial independence, self esteem and self confidence. These women will no longer be seen as a burden and don’t have to be trapped in situations because they don’t have a choice. The biggest joy for me comes from the flow-on effect - all the children from these families, particularly girls can now go to school as their mum has the income to do so!

As Mahathma Gandhi said “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it anyway.” So along with a group of amazing women, we started RedHands, an Australian not-for-profit organization based in Sydney. We empower women out of poverty by helping them achieve financial independence, self esteem and confidence through funding and supporting the creation of their own small businesses.

We will explain the plight of these women to you, to get you close to their lives so that you can see for yourselves how you are making a difference. Then we work through our partners to deliver the services.

Our goal is to create communities of women helping communities of women living in poverty all over the world – RedHands is not just an organisation but a movement - a group of people who consciously, and at their own cost, connect to change the status quo. So I hope that every one of you reading this will find a way to join us in this movement. We welcome you to sign up as members, volunteers or corporate partners and truly become part of this movement.

A microfinance loan of just $200 can help a woman start a business and get out of poverty.

This year we need your help to get 500 women out of poverty – you can help by becoming a member for just $50 per year, attending our Yoga / Bollywood / Cooking eventsor simply donating (call 02 8197 9400).

If you want to get involved through your business, we can also help you by promoting your business through our networks and at our events. We are always looking for corporate sponsors and product/services donations – please contact Sean Dostal at or 0413 591 105.