Changemakers with Clare McKenna
Elizabeth Zion - Family Reunification
Elizabeth Zion is the youngest of my Changemakers so far – at only 19 she's been using her voice for the last few years to talk about family reunification. She serves on the global youth advisory board for UNICEF and currently works on the LIFT Ireland catalyst team, whose focus is building leadership skills in young people. She studies politics, international relations and social justice at the University College Dublin.
We have heard more and more over recent years about people seeking asylum or being displaced due to unrest in their home country but we hear less about stories like Elizabeth's. As you'll hear, her mother fled Nigeria while still pregnant with Elizabeth and with her 4 siblings, all very young at the time, Her father was willing to come with them and support his family but even as of recording he has not been able to secure visa application approval and they have had to make do with a visit every few years and phone contact. As you can imagine this has had a massive emotional toll on the whole family but also on their ability to truly settle here and contribute fully to society at times, so even on an economic level, this doesn't make any sense. Elizabeth and her family have found themselves homeless and have been tested more than many but she is grateful for the struggle which has taught her about what is important in life and she is determined to speak up for people in situations like hers, who might not have found the strength she has.
We talk about the effect of a broken home on a child and of course we live in a time when the shape of a family has changed, people can grow up with one parent for a variety of reasons and flourish. This is a different situation, a family who want to be together but can't because of a set of circumstances, not of their making, which they cannot control. We talk about the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child which recognises childhood is a special, protected time, in which children must be allowed to grow, learn, play, develop and flourish with dignity. It goes on to cite the importance of parents and family in this protection and that children have a right to family life. Elizabeth is calling for these rights to be prioritised and taken into account with visa applications.
For more on Elizabeth Zion click here
View her Ted Talk here
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12. Aisling Nestor - Doing the Work54:09With this episode I wanted to do something slightly different, I'm still talking to someone who works in the area of making change but if we want to show up in the world, or even in just our own life, we can't pour from an empty cup so I've invited Life Coach Aisling Nestor on to the podcast today.Aisling was working as a medical professional in the area of mental health when she experienced severe burnout which left her bed ridden for 3 months. When medical and psychological assessments gave her a clean bill of health she began working with a coach who made her unpack the stories she was telling herself, assess the impact they were having on her life and make a plan to move forward.Aisling has retrained to become a coach herself and now works to help people do the same, today she talks to me about identifying our self limiting beliefs and where they come from, looking at our values and our needs and taking steps to a more contented life.For more on Aisling click here
11. Sandra Healy - Using Tech for Diversity and Inclusion50:20I was quite blown away by this week's episode with Sandra Healy co founder of Inclusio a science based, data led diversity and inclusion platform, designed to measure, track and action diversity and inclusion in the workplace.We talk about her career in tech spanning over 20 years and how a moment where she noticed a major gap between the number of men and woman at a conference to now working to have a more equal playing field for all, so that a workforce represents the diversity of our classrooms, our society and ultimately the customers of a business.We talk about bias from seeing a name or address on a CV right the way through the work force and I found myself with a bias, I was still thinking of inclusion through a bit of an us and them lens – that it was a good idea to have more people who are different than me working alongside me and to break down any barriers to that, and that's true to a degree but after talking to Sandra I've realised it's actually about all of us, WE are all different and it goes deeper that race or nationality and its important we come together and make sure every voice is heard.
10. Eoin Galavan - Why Don't We Care About Climate Change?58:09Dr Eoin Galavan is a senior clinical psychologist and associate fellow with the psychological society of Ireland – they have recently set up a special interest group for addressing climate and environmental emergency. The group are looking at the psychological reasons why we hear the information, we know there is only a window of opportunity for us to turn around the climate crisis and yet we often just return to normal life and hope that someone else will sort it.Eoin speaks honestly about his own journey to becoming climate concerned, not just as psychologist but also as a father and the steps he has taken.This is ultimately an empowering and uplifting conversation, not only giving greater understanding of how we humans work and behave but also what we CAN do now that can make a real difference.Here are some of the references from the conversation;Psychological Society off Ireland Special Interest Group on Addressing the Environmental and Climate Crisis https://www.psychologicalsociety.ie/groups/Special-Interest-Group-for-Addressing-Climate-and-Environmental-Emergency.Epson Stonkes Ted Talk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5h6ynoq8uMWhat we can do now https://www.dcu.ie/ocoo/sustainability-dcu
9. Seyi Akiwowo - Staying Safe Online57:06Seyi Akiwowo is CEO and founder of Glitch and now author of How to Stay Safe Online – A digital self care toolkit for developing resilience and allyship.Seyi has had the most incredible journey – a force to be reckoned with she became the youngest ever black female councillor in London at the age of 22. When a video of a speech she made at the European Parliament went viral, it led to a surge in followers but also sexist and racist comments as well as death threats. This experience led Seyi to speak out about the online world, it's very much knitted in to our every day and there are so many positives, but there is so much we allow to go unregulated and unreprimanded. Seyi speaks of the digital platform as being a public space with us as digital citizens and we should protect ourselves in that space as much as we do off line.Today we talk about Seyi moving on from that traumatic experience and pouring herself into setting up Glitch, a charity looking to end online abuse through awareness, advocacy and action. We look at the fall out of online abuse including the sobering statistic that 43% girls hold back their opinions on social media for fear of being criticised. For black women it is worse, 84% are more likely to be mentioned in an abusive or problematic comment. Online abuse causes more issues that mental health, its infringing on human rights and eroding democratic engagement. We also talk about the boundaries we ourselves have to put in place in the online world.I saw Seyi speak a couple of years ago and was blown away by her passion and had so many AHA moments with things she was saying about digital citizenship and the online world. I've been hoping to speak to her since then and I'm so chuffed she chose to make time for this podcast to discuss her brilliant book.For more on Glitch which is packed with info and resources click here For more on Seyi's book How to Stay Safe Online click here
8. Conor Buckley - Human Collective51:18My guest today is Conor Buckley – Conor is the founder of Human Collective – a brand of sustainable clothing with a message of equality and a movement that includes education and workshops. As you'll hear Conor was inspired by his mum Christine, a changemaker herself who spoke out about institutional abuse and was a champion for victims and the vulnerable.Human Collective gives back to three charity partners, Sports Against Racism Ireland, LGBTQ plus Ireland and The Irish Youth Foundation to support their work tackling inequality. We talk in this episode about how we all have bias but now more than ever we need to come together as a collective – we need to call in rather than call out injustice and how it's ok to take small steps towards real and lasting change. Inclusion and diversity is what will empower and it's important that we aren't passive in our pursuit of this – but true allies.For more on Human Collective click here
7. Níall Ó'Murchú - The Power of the Breath56:16Níall Ó'Murchú is a wellness expert, a Wim Hof instructor and author of The Blissful Breath. His mission is to teach people the tools to be able to check in with themselves and feel the many benefits breathwork and in some cases cold therapy can bring.In today's episode we talk about his most recent venture, retraining in trauma and breathwork, initially to help the anxiety his young twin daughters were feeling after the pandemic. This is now been made into a programme to help children and teenagers all over the world.Niall feels that the changemakers are the people who take those tools and use them – I hope at the end of this episode you'll feel empowered that you can make a difference to your own life, starting with just a few minutes of breathing every day.For more on Níall click hereThe Blissful Breath Book
5. Tammy Darcy - Empowering Girls59:38Tammy D'Arcy is founder and CEO of The Shona Project a multi-award winning non-profit organisation aimed at providing help, guidance and education to young Irish women on issues such as anxiety and depression, bullying, stress, relationships, social media and body image.Shona has an online community (www.shona.ie) runs schools workshops and is governed by professional doctors, counsellors and education providers. They also hold The Shine Festival every year featuring a host of empowering female speakers.The mission at Shona is that Irish girls need to be empowered and educated to realise their full potential and become tomorrows changemakers. They have impacted 20,000 girls through our school workshops and events, 30,000 through their survival handbook, 300,000 through our website, 350,000 through social media views each month. Tammy has won multiple awards and was named Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year in 2021, in the same year she also released her book You've Got This - The ultimate girl guide to embracing your individuality, loving yourself and learning to truly shine – in your teens and beyond. In this interview you will hear Tammy's personal story, how tragedy that befell her sister Shona and a struggle through Tammy's own teens inspired her to begin on her mission to help girls believe in themselves so they can become the women they are meant to be.To find out more about The Shona Project click hereFor more on Tammy's book - You've Got This click
4. Pat Kane - Small Steps to Sustainability50:33Pat Kane of Reuzi is my guest this week. Originally from Brazil and moved here with her Irish husband, when they had their first baby they become a little more eco conscious and started to look at their home as a starting point.4 years later and Pat is now a sustainability strategist, a speaker and a writer for several publications. She founded Reuzi, described as a one stop shop for sustainably made, reusable goods and an educational hub on all things sustainable living. She wanted to create the space she was looking for when she started on eco journey and was unsure of where to go for products that were more environmentally friendly.Pat has a lovely way about her, she doesn't believe in lecturing or scaremongering with the message of the climate crisis and she believes in the power of small steps which together can make a huge difference.For more on Reuzi click here