100 Women’s Mission is “to enable everyday people to be involved in creating a world where all women and girls can live safely with access to health, education and economic freedom.  We do this by combining donations and knowledge to provide impactful grants”. It is with this in mind that the 100 Women members can celebrate the positive impact from their 2014 $40,000 grant to Perth based Zonta House Refuge Association. This is the first of the six grants made over the last two years that has been formally acquitted. This means that the funded actives are all complete and we have received an evaluation and financial report on the grant.

The $40,000 was awarded to Zonta House’s “Positive Pathways to Safety for Women and the Community Program”, which was established in July 2013. This is a preventative program assisting women who have experienced, or are at risk of, a crisis such as family and domestic violence, mental health issues and homelessness. Specifically, the 100 Women grant was used to support three areas: 1) education workshops; 2) a pilot mentoring program and 3) Starting Over Support (SOS).

The 19 education workshops enabled 136 attendees (of which 52% were homeless and 75% were either currently experiencing or had previously experienced Family Domestic Violence) to access education around “self esteem and self confidence, assertive communication, financial skills, job preparedness, women’s wellness and understanding trauma”.

These workshops are designed to set up a specific pathway for each woman to access further help and support for their long term healing and independence. The most significant change in these women is their outlook on themselves and their future. Over the five-week course, measures of depression moved from severe to mild, anxiety from extremely severe to moderate and stress improved from moderate to normal.

Feedback from the attendees was plentiful and very positive. Just a few examples: “I am so overwhelmed, every woman at this stage of life should do this course”; “Too much to list, so much, I am excited for this (finally) new beginning, and being aware of how I can change the outcome of a situation” to “More, more, more”.

Writing up our workshop details

The mentoring program was a pilot designed to provide an ongoing opportunity to develop, refine and expand skills and knowledge in a structured and safe environment. It was offered to five mentees and ran over 12 weeks. With the support of training and information sessions along with supervision, the mentors were encouraged to assist mentees in setting individual goals for themselves.

Some of the goals achieved by the mentees by the end of this program included more confidence in dealing with people and achieving their goals; setting good boundaries; staying the course with education; stepping out of their comfort zone and improving health and fitness. Feedback included comments such as “I felt valued”; “I have gained more confidence”; “I felt like I had someone on my side”.


Additionally, mentors found the course mutually beneficial, learnt more about Zonta House and Positive Pathways, even referring other women to the Positive Pathways services. One mentor commenting “My mentee, she was such an inspiration and I believe she will be able to accomplish heaps if she sets her mind to it”.

Moving towards independent living, whether private, public or community housing is challenging for many of these women. The Starting Over Support service (SOS) is designed to assist women and their families move on with their lives with a degree of normality and security, knowing that they don’t have to find the finances to set up their home with furniture and household goods.

SOS warehouse in action

The 100 Women grant enabled Zonta House to expand the SOS service significantly, assisting around 144 women and 254 children directly over 18 months. The grant enabled SOS to firstly secure a warehouse in February 2016 to store donations for distribution to clients and also to fund truck hire to collect and deliver the donated goods. Indirectly there has been an increase in volunteer numbers, connections with agencies and community groups all assisting towards a sustainable service over the longer term. In fact we are delighted to hear that SOS is now a registered charity in its own right.

Across all three projects the support of 100 Women has assisted with positively impacting the lives of more than 500 women and children, providing them help and care for their long-term health and wellbeing. Further there is the positive impact on all those who have been involved whether as volunteers, mentors, educators, organisers or donators.

The funds have helped Zonta House to take another big step in filling the gap in our services to assist women and children suffering from family and domestic violence, homelessness and complex mental problems. There is still much to be done but in the meantime Zonta House Refuge thanks 100 Women members for their valuable support..

Do you need to renew your membership for 2016? Are you thinking of joining 100 Women so that you can be a catalyst for positive change? Now is a great time to make your donations with our Membership Bonus campaign. Every NEW and RENEWING member who makes their full donation by 31 October will go into the draw to win one of nine mentoring sessions with wonderful leaders and philanthropists. Find out more here and make your payment now.

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