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A Life Of Helping Women
Saturday 31 January 2015
A Life Of Helping Women
THE difference between the opportunities afforded to her mother and grandmother in Greece and her life in Australia inspired Effy Kleanthi to improve women’s lives at home and away.
Mrs Kleanthi came to Australia with her parents from Kastoria, in north-western Greece, in 1961.
Her grandmother, Parthena, later came from Pontus, in what is now part of Turkey.
“They were women who came from poor, poverty-stricken areas and they came for a better life for their children,” Mrs Kleanthi said.
“My mother, for example, is illiterate in her own language.
“I want to empower women to help themselves.
“I really did carry that wherever I went and, as a result, have a really strong belief in social justice and equality.”
To that end, Mrs Kleanthi has raised $150,000 through her work with UN Women, which has included serving as national vice president from 2002 to 2007 and organising the International Women’s Day Breakfast from 2000 to 2008.
UN Women funds programs to raise the standard of living for women in developing countries, such as one in Afghanistan where women are taught about legal rights.
“It’s not going to the community and saying how to do it, it’s getting them to be part of it,” Mrs Kleanthi said.
Mrs Kleanthi graduated from Flinders University, where she met her husband Andrew, in 1983, and worked for various Commonwealth agencies as a social worker from 1984 to 1994.
She then worked for NP&SP from 1996 to 1998.
She has since cut back her volunteer and paid work after being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a painful condition associated with chronic fatigue.
The above originally appeared here.
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