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A Helping Hand… Jenny Goodall And Small Steps

By Em Allen on June 18, 2012 in

Photo: Simon Lohmeyer

Jenny Goodall started working for Small Steps when she met the director, Amy Hanson, at the screening of a documentary about the project (http://vimeo.com/18118073) at the Bondi Hotel.

Jenny had already been running marathons to fundraise for the project. Amy was going back to Cambodia and when Jenny asked if she could come the reply was a confident yes. They returned and did their first project together and this is the resulting documentary: http://vimeo.com/30552671.

Tell us about Small Steps in a paragraph…
Small Steps is a humanitarian organisation that provides shoes and emergency aid for children scavenging on landfill sites, equipping them with the things they need to take small steps out of poverty and simultaneously raising awareness of the unacceptable hardships faced by them through documentary film.

Who are you helping?
Children who live or work on rubbish dumps or who survive from scavenging in rubbish, either on landfill sites, slums or streets.

How long have you been going for?
Small Steps has been going since 2008 and I joined in 2010 and have been volunteering ever since.

What was the inspiration to start Small Steps?
Amy started Small Steps after she visited a dump in Cambodia in 2008 and realised that there were no organisations helping. After I saw the film I wanted to help too, so I started fundraising.

What have been the most difficult challenges you’ve faced with Small Steps?
The most difficult challenge is making people aware of what happens outside of our bubble. It’s only when you are taken out of our privileged surroundings that you fully witness the devastation and poverty these children are subjected too.

What’s the best thing about Small Steps?
The best thing about Small Steps is that it’s allowed me to go and help others and provide these children with the basic daily needs we all take for granted. We spend our lives trying to fit into society, deciding what we are here to do, and the minute I stepped onto that rubbish dump I knew in my heart that I would dedicate the rest of my life to help prevent poverty.

Have you got any fundraising events coming up?
I am running the Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon on May 20. We are also doing a London celebrity shoe auction. Last year Ricky Gervais, Kate Moss, Helen Mirren, the cast of Sex and the City and many more donated their shoes to us to raise money to buy shoes for the children on the rubbish dump.

Do you get any assistance from the government?
We get no government funding and if it wasn’t for the help of some Aussie corporates we wouldn’t be able to do the work we do. We really need more funding so that we can do bigger and more sustainable projects and actually get the children off the dumps.

Are you affiliated with any religious organisation?
Definitely not.

What’s your medium- to long-term plan for Small Steps?
To partner with other NGOs on the ground so that we can get the children off the dumps and into projects and schools, and to build crèches so that parent scavengers can leave their babies in a safe environment while they scavenge and not have to take them onto the dump.

How can Beast readers get involved?
By donating to my run at www.justgiving.com/JEN-GOODALL and by checking out the website, www.smalllstepsproject.org, joining the Facebook group, following Small-StepsDocs on Twitter or following my blog at www.changepovertywith.me.