Stephanie Malan: The Village Co: Westfield Local Heroes 2019
Midwife proves that no act of kindness is a bad idea
Kind. Determined. Passionate
Stephanie Malan never set out to start a charity, but the midwife could not stop herself from feeling heartbroken by new mums who did not have the essentials needed to care for themselves and their babies.
Now the mother of two runs The Village Co SA from her family home, sourcing donations and distributing bags of necessities to close to a thousand new mums a year.
The grateful recipients are typically living with financial strain, domestic violence or mental illness. They may also be teenage mothers or refugees.
Stephanie says she burst into tears when she found out that she had been voted a Westfield Local Hero. “I felt a little bit embarrassed because I never thought I would be called a hero. But I feel really proud and honoured that the organisation has been recognised.
“It is so special to me to have created an organisation which marries the work of midwives and the gift of pure kindness to women.”
At first, Stephanie was told her wish to help would be too difficult to achieve, but she says no act of kindness is a bad idea.
“Forming a charity was never my plan, but the idea evolved into something big, and something people want to join and support,” she says.
The bags of essentials are distributed by midwives and social workers at Lyell McEwin Hospital and The Women's and Children's Hospital, but Stephanie would like to reach more women.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Village Co SA will use its grant to rent space to store donations and to extend its service to a third hospital.
“I get thousands and thousands of nappies in one day, and I have to store them in my bedroom at home,” says Stephanie.
“Having a place for donations to be delivered safely as well as a public space for volunteers to come and help us pack bags will be amazing.”
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.