Greek Australian, Mary Yannopoulos, always wanted to start her own charity to help disadvantaged people. At the time, she was managing her husband’s dental practice in Marrickville until eventually she decided to start her own mortgage broking business, Skybridge Capital Pty Ltd.
For many, juggling so many different hats would prove a challenge. Not for Mary. In fact, six years ago she decided to take on more responsibility and make her true dream a reality. She founded the ‘For the Girls of Grenada Inc.’ charity.
“I have previously sponsored World Vision and then I realised that not all the funds go directly to where they’re supposed to go, so I wanted to do something myself,” Mary tells The Greek Herald exclusively.
“Six years ago, my son-in-law went to work at the hospital in Grenada for six months and while he was living there, he got to see the way of life and the poverty. When he came back he said, ‘I think you should go to Grenada and try to help there.’ And that’s when I took it on.”
Since then, Mary has visited Grenada four times and witnessed for herself the prevalence of sexual assault by family members and poverty experienced by young women and children of the island.
“We went to the hospital and found that there was no hand sanitiser on the wall, there was no soap, there were no gloves or masks. There are babies dying from poor hygiene,” Mary explains.
“The girls that fall pregnant to their father’s, some of them just leave the babies on the streets and they end up in hospital, waiting for a home to go to. So it’s a really hard life over there.”
‘For the Girls of Grenada Inc.’ has fortunately been able to help about 80-120 of these local families by providing basic life necessities and ongoing mentoring. The charity has also funded two years of college education for 20 girls, with six having graduated this year.
This is something Mary says she’s incredibly proud of as it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the local community, which has come out in full force this month for the charity’s ‘100km September Walk.’
“This year we came up with doing a fundraising walk. Anyone can walk 100kms in September at their own leisure and raise awareness by getting people to sponsor them. So far, we’ve had about 100 people register for the walk… and we’ve raised $14,000 already,” Mary says, while emphasising that 100 percent of these proceeds go directly towards the girls.
“When I raise money from here, I take 100 percent of the funds and use it for the girls over there. All my personal expenses like airfares and accommodation are covered by my business, Skybridge Capital.
“At the end of the day, we’re not raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. So if I’m only raising $50-$60,000, I need this money to help the girls. The more I raise, the more I can keep supporting them and their families.”
A worthy cause from a woman who has truly been able to fulfill her dream of helping disadvantaged people in this world.