Late last year, we gave you the opportunity to suggest a cause that deserved a $1000 donation from us. Read on to find out what good those dollars are doing now!
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The recipients of our Festival of Giving $1000 donation was One Girl, a Melbourne-based non-profit who assist girls in East and West Africa to attend school and provide them with life-changing education and resources.
We couldn’t be happier to learn that the donation we made on your behalf has enabled three girls to attend school this year! A result that will not only change their lives, but the lives of their family members and communities.
With a new school year beginning in Australia this week, we thought we’d find out more about the barriers to basic education for girls in Uganda and Sierra Leone, and about the work One Girl do to break them down.
Tell us a bit about One Girl, how it began and its mission.
One Girl started when two young Australians, Chantelle Baxter and David Dixon, were on a research project through East and West Africa. In Uganda, Chantelle met a 14-year-old girl called Brenda. After losing both parents, Brenda was living with her aunt who could no longer afford to send her to school. So, of course, Dave and Chantelle decided to help! It cost $150 to put Brenda back in school – and it was that first $150 investment in just one girl, in Brenda, that inspired the beginning of One Girl.
That was 10 years ago, and since then we’ve supported thousands of girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda with access to life-changing education. One Girl currently runs girl-focused education programs that provide high school scholarships, education in business and entrepreneurial skills, menstrual hygiene management — along with access to sanitary products — and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) education. These four programs are all uniquely designed to combat the barriers that girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda face when accessing education, and they give girls an opportunity to drive their own change and reach their full potential!
What are the barriers to education for the girls you support?
In Sierra Leone, only 16% of girls complete high school. This can be due to a number of factors such as teenage pregnancy, the cost of sending a girl to school, the societal preference to send boys to school whilst girls tend to household duties, or the difficulties girls face attending school when they have their periods. All our programs are designed to help combat those barriers:
Our Scholarships program aims to support girls with everything they need to graduate. One Girl Scholars are supported with school uniforms, school books, textbooks, shoes, a backpack – even lunch money! They also have regular meetings with One Girl focal teachers who support them so they have every opportunity to succeed in school.
Our Business Brains program aims to equip girls and young women with skills in how to begin and run their own businesses – because we want to make sure girls have every opportunity to succeed both in and out of the classroom. As part of Business Brains, we also hold education sessions on career development, life skills, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Our LaunchPad program aims to change the fact that a lot girls don’t attend school when they have their period – 60% of girls in Uganda! This can be due to a lack of menstrual hygiene education, little access to sanitary products, or poor toilet facilities in schools. Enter: the LaunchPad program. This program focuses on education in menstrual hygiene management, supporting young women with access to affordable sanitary products and challenging the stigma attached to menstruation. That’s why also we include boys and men in this program so that the entire community can break down harmful taboos surrounding menstruation.
Our School Awesomisation program has provided students with education in water, sanitation and hygiene and constructed toilet facilities in rural schools in Sierra Leone that either don’t have any, or don’t have enough! We know that when you educate a girl, she will impart her WASH knowledge to her family by promoting healthy habits at school and in the home.
Last year Obus donated $1000 to One Girl on our customer’s behalf. Can you tell us how those funds will be used?
In Sierra Leone, it costs just AU$300 to educate a girl for an entire year. So this incredible donation from Obus is enough to educate three girls! And when you educate a girl, you’re not just changing her life, you’re also changing the lives of her family and community members – that’s the incredible impact Obus will have by supporting the power of education!
Do you have any special memories of the girls One Girl has supported over the years?
Our One Girl Scholars are pretty extraordinary and they constantly inspire us. After not being in school for nearly four years, Bintu* became a One Girl Scholar.
When she was able to begin school again with our help, she said: “School is important because it helps each and every one in order for us to be able to achieve our dreams. I’ll help other people who cannot pay their school fees for themselves. If I am educated, if I have a job, I’ll be able to help them as well. Going back to school has changed my life completely. Completely!”
It’s an amazing dream: to use her education to support others in her community so they too can have the opportunity to fulfil their dreams. One Girl Scholars aren’t just inspiring because of what they’re achieving, but for the change they’re driving within their own families and communities.
What are some other ways to support One Girl and spread your awesome message?
Every year we run Do It In A Dress, a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign that calls on everyone to put on a school dress and raise funds for girls’ education. We’ve seen some pretty incredible things happen in school dresses; we’ve seen people jump out of planes, trek the Camino de Santiago, run marathons or wear school dresses non-stop for a month! And all to raise funds and spread awareness of the importance of girls’ education. To sign up, visit us here.
*Bintu’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
Photo credits: Olivia Acland/One Girl.
With summer in full swing, we're outside and looking for ways to preserve the natural beauty of Australia's beaches, parks, and natural wonders! So today we launch a giveaway that helps keep our oceans clean and free of waste (and gives you a chance to take home your fave Obus piece on us!).
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Without a doubt, 2018 saw an increased focus on the volume of single-use plastics entering our oceans and waterways. And while we at Obus aim to do our part to create low-impact fashion and accessories, there's always more we can do to reduce pollutants and ensuring waste stays well clear of our waterways.
Take 3 is an Australian not-for-profit organisation, founded in 2009 by surfing enthusiast, Amanda Marechal, marine ecologist, Roberta Dixon-Valk and environmentalist, Tim Silverwood.
Their mission is to actively reduce the amount of plastic and human-made rubbish entering our oceans through a simple message: Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, park, creek, river… or anywhere you find yourself this summer.
As active beach-goers, we love Take 3's ethos and simple, practical message. So at the time of year when many of us are enjoying time at Australia's beautiful coastlines, creeks, rivers and parks, we thought we'd offer an extra incentive to encourage YOU to 'take three'!
WIN A $250 OBUS GIFT VOUCHER WHEN YOU TAKE 3 FOR THE SEA
How to enter:
1. Collect 3 (or more!) pieces of rubbish you've found while at the beach/park or other public space
2. Snap and share a photo to your Instagram or Facebook timeline and don't forget to use the hashtags #obustake3 and #take3forthesea (Instagram), or tag us and Take 3 (Facebook) so we can record your entry
3. Dispose of your found rubbish thoughtfully!
In addition to there being less rubbish polluting our environment, your post will inspire others to think about their impact and responsibility to our planet, and you'll go in the running to WIN a $250 Obus gift voucher. Win, win, win!
- Entrants must follow all entry guidelines to be entered into the giveaway draw.
- One entry = one user post on Facebook & Instagram.
- Giveaway promotion ends 9/1/19.
- Winner chosen at random from valid entries on 10/1/19 and contacted via social media by 12/1/19.
- Prize cannot be returned or redeemed for cash.
- The competition is not endorsed by Facebook or Instagram.
Obus is doing something a bit different for Mother's Day this year! We're facilitating donations of much-needed clothing, food, vitamins, and educational resources to be sent to the women and children being detained on the island of Nauru.
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It’s a cause the whole team at Obus are passionate about. As a business, we regularly support social enterprises and initiate fundraising campaigns, mobilising our community of kind-hearted customers and followers. In partnering with We Care Nauru and Gifts for Manus & Nauru, we hope to make Mother's Day a bit brighter for these families.
Images from We Care Nauru used with permission.
There are two ways you can donate:
Pop into any of our stores with one of the above items and get 20% off your Obus purchase (suggested donation value: $25).
Donate online and get 20% off your Obus purchase (discount will be applied at checkout).
Donate before Mothers Day, Sunday 13 May, to get your discount; and help us send a big box of goodies to the families on Nauru!
Meet Keryn - she’s an adult-education teacher working with new Australians, and lives in regional Victoria. She’s a creative whiz, always travelling (she's skiing in Nevada as we speak) and, sources say, an excellent dancer.
What neighbourhood do you live in and what do you like about it?
I moved to Yackandandah in north-east Victoria in 2010 after living in Hughesdale in Melbourne for 30 years. Yackandandah is a progressive, community minded town of about 1200 people. It has a music festival each March and is working toward providing all its energy needs sustainably. It also has great cafes (2) and pubs (2), and a cooperative that runs the petrol station and funds local activities with the proceeds. It's a great place to live.
What is your day job and what do you love about it?
My day job is teaching English to migrants and refugees at TAFE NSW in Albury. I love helping newly arrived people, many of whom have come from difficult backgrounds, to learn English, get a job and settle into Australia. It's very rewarding.
Do you have a passion project or hobby?
I love making things and I collect handmade pottery, fabric, and art from all over the world. Nothing expensive, just things I like the look of. I have made clothing and soft furnishings all my life. I also love renovating houses and furniture. My most recent project was recovering a 1960s Grant Featherstone dining suite.
When did you first start shopping at Obus (and can you remember the first piece you purchased?)
I only discovered OBUS a couple of years ago. I was immediately blown away by the fabrics and prints. But I believe my first purchase was a pair of shoes which I have worn to death and never fail to be complimented about when I do.
How does wearing Obus make you feel?
Wearing Obus makes me feel happy and inspired. I love it when people ask me about the great clothes and I can tell them about about this great Australian company.
Is wearing locally made clothing important to you, and if so, why?
I think it is important to wear local but I am not obsessed with it. I do like to support local makers though and am pleased to have a local connection to the maker where possible.
What’s your favourite thing to do on your days off?
Mostly I like making, restoring and refurbishing all kinds of things but I also love walking my dog Mickey, going out for coffee with my partner and looking for bargains at Op shops.
My favourite podcast/radio show is: At the moment I am loving The Real Thing podcast which is an ABC radio podcast about ordinary Australians.
I’m currently reading: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
I’ve just finished watching: The latest season of Hometown which is a home renovation show
My favourite place I’ve ever travelled to is: India. In Particular Ladakh which is in the north, near the border of China. We have been there a number of times to go trekking in the mountains and I recommend it to anyone who loves to trek. I also recently walked the Kumano Kodo in Japan and spent time in Kyoto which was fantastic.
I love to sing loudly along to: … Wow, trying to pick one song is really hard. I love anything by George Michael though. I think singing and dancing is one of the most fun things you can do and it's free!
I love the saying: It's not what we start that matters - it's what we finish.
My super power is: Finding amazing bargains at Op shops.
We helped the Women's Empowerment Group at Melbourne's Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (and you can to!)
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The ASRC runs a Women's Empowerment Group (WEG) that meets at least once every week. How cool is this:
'This program supports women seeking asylum to realise their full potential through a range of professional development workshops and activities, including English language classes, education and training and other community-based activities to foster creativity and social engagement. The program also supports our entrepreneurial female members to start up their own businesses as well as running a nine-week ‘Sisterhood Journey’, a self-growth program run in partnership with MIND Australia and the SHINE program in partnership with Hope Inc.'
When Karen from the ASRC got in touch to ask if we could help out with sewing equipment for the WEG, we figured that if anyone could help, we could! We held a drive at the Obus Studio (read: called our mothers and friends), and managed to wrangle quite a collection: five sewing machines, including an overlocker and a leather specialty machine. Obus paid to have these machines checked and serviced, and we recently had the immense pleasure of delivering them to the ASRC.
It was astonishingly wonderful to meet some of the lovely ladies from the group. We were even treated to flowers and the most sensational afternoon-tea, with home-made snacks from India, Ethiopia, the Pacific Islands and more.
The food was accompanied by some pretty excellent chats in the tea room, and we could tell just how much the group means to these women. They described the ASRC as 'home', and travel from as far as Geelong to get there.
The Women's Empowerment Group is always in need of donations. If you have any excess fabric or sewing equipment, including scissors, thread (sewing and overlocker), pins, snippers and any other sewing paraphernalia that you can spare please contact Karen at The ASRC.
Alternatively, if Footscray is a bit hard to get to, drop your donations at any Obus store and we'll deliver them for you.
We'd like to offer special thanks to Keryn Haberman and Violetta Gordana Mihailovici for their incredibly generous donations, we couldn't have done it without you!
Obus has been a tenant on High St Northcote since 2009, and during that time we've had many wonderful neighbours covering all of our food, coffee, reading, entertainment and gifting needs.
Let us take you on a trip up the street, and if you visit any of these wonderful establishments, tell them we said hi!
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Over the years, we've furnished our stores with bits and pieces from Grandfather's Axe - their selection of Danish and other European mid-century furniture is second to none. Get your hands on an investment piece with history or just visit to admire the modern design nous of yesteryear.
Nothing beats the proper cinema experience and Westgarth Theatre - with its fabulous tiled floor, well-stocked candy bar and all new film releases - is a great place for date night.
The cinema was officially opened on October 20th, 1921. It's name was derived from that of William Westgarth, a successful English merchant who owned 45 acres of land on the Brunswick side of Merri Creek. There has been some speculation around a refurbishment in 1929 being associated with the famous architect Walter Burley Griffin, but the lack of documentation around the changes mean that we'll likely never know whether he was involved, or if the project was undertaken by a protege of his.
All Are Welcome
As the name suggests, all are welcome to enjoy mouth-watering breads, cakes, treats and coffee at this recently-opened Northcote viennoiserie. Serving Everyday Coffee, All Are Welcome might be your new everyday haunt.
Boris Portnoy, owner and baker, is a man of great culinary prestige -he was head baker at The Restaurant at Meadowood, a three Michelin Star venue in the Napa Valley. Needless to say, we're never disappointed by the baked treats. The simple, unexpectedly institutional architecture of this ex-Christian science reading room is delightful.
Top of the Hill
Top of the Hill will pique your interest for a light lunch with its streamlined sandwich menu, soup specials, and Noisette pastries. The intimate space with its curved plywood ceiling is perfect for a quick bite.
But our favourite feature of this elegantly warm and simple space is definitely the coffee, speedily brought to you by Top of the Hill's expert baristas and Clement Coffee Roasters. And don't forget to check out the incredibly gorgeous vintage cash register, it's such a rare and ornate design feature.
It's not unusual for someone (read: our resident sugar addict Kitty) to leave the Obus studio for lunch and come back with Pasticceria Bisetto treats to share! Enjoy old-school cakes and delicacies and be sure to take away a selection to enjoy later. Kitty thinks the vanilla slice here may just be the best in Melbourne.
Brown & Bunting
A browse in a secondhand bookshop is always good for the soul (and the budget), and Brown & Bunting is our pick. You'll loose track of time perusing the diverse range of titles here and don't forget to say hi to puss, what a sweetheart!
Big Dreams is your one stop shop for high-quality kids clothing, shoes, toys, games, puzzles and books. With a selection of locally made and ethically made wares, plus kids stuff that actually looks great, your main question will be: do these come in adult sizes?
The main reason to keep coming back to Ours is that the space (and what's inside it) changes on the regular! Operating as a pop-up retail and gallery space, you never know what delights are (literally) instore.
Recent Ours tenants Two Worlds Collide and Woodbeast.