In a world where adversity can break people, there are a few exceptional individuals who manage to turn their personal struggles into a force for positive change. One such remarkable woman is Rochelle Courtenay, the founder of Share the Dignity. Through her incredible life journey and the founding of this transformative charity, Rochelle has become a beacon of hope and compassion, advocating for women in need. As we approach August, it’s time to join hands and support Share the Dignity in their annual Dignity Drive. Let’s delve into Rochelle’s story and learn about the charity’s mission to make a difference.
Rochelle Courtenay’s life hasn’t been easy. She witnessed her mother’s hardships due to domestic violence while growing up and experienced personal struggles where she was also abused. These experiences did not hold her back. Over 13 years ago, as a single working mother determined to support her daughters and maintain her independence, she started a business. Unfortunately, whilst operating this business, she made a deeply regrettable mistake that resulted in pleading guilty to fraud. Despite this setback, Rochelle refused to let it define her. She made peace with her past and used the experience to redefine herself with newfound strength and resilience. During her time serving a six-month sentence in a women’s prison, Rochelle’s perspective on life and judgment shifted dramatically. Witnessing the stories of other women in prison, she realised that people are fundamentally good but can make bad choices when faced with traumatic circumstances. This experience became her redemption, leading her to embrace compassion and a deep understanding of the struggles faced by others. Rochelle emerged from this ordeal with a heart full of compassion and determination to make a difference in the lives of women in need.
Inspired by an article on MamaMia highlighting the difficulties homeless women face in managing their periods, Rochelle decided to take action. In 2015, she called for personal items to be donated. Rochelle distributed these to centres for women in need. What started as a one-time response soon became Share the Dignity, a powerful force for change in the lives of countless women across Australia.
Share the Dignity focuses on providing sanitary items and support to women experiencing homelessness, domestic violence, and poverty. Through their annual Dignity Drive, the charity collects thousands of personal care items such as sanitary pads, tampons, menstrual cups, underwear, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and handbags. The handbags are filled with collected goods that then become symbols of compassion and hope. By restoring dignity and empowering women, Share the Dignity reminds them that they are seen, valued, and deserving of a brighter future.
As we approach August, Share the Dignity is gearing up for its annual Dignity Drive. This is an opportunity for individuals, communities, and organisations to come together and support this life-changing initiative. By volunteering your time, donating personal care items, or organising a collection point in your area, you can play a vital role in empowering women and providing them with the dignity they deserve.
Rochelle Courtenay’s journey from personal struggles to founding Share the Dignity is an extraordinary testament to the power of turning negatives into positives. Despite facing setbacks and unique challenges, Rochelle has become a shining example of resilience, compassion, and determination. Under Rochelle’s leadership, Share the Dignity has become a beacon of hope for women in need, offering them the support and essentials necessary to restore their dignity.
As the annual Dignity Drive approaches this August, let’s stand united with Share the Dignity, volunteering our time, resources, and support to create a brighter future for women in need. Together, we can make a difference, one handbag at a time. Visit Share The Dignity to learn more about how you can get involved and be a force for change.