Steve Etter

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Steve Etter

Steve Etter

Dr Rhona MacDonald (MRCGP, MPH, DRCOG, DCH) is currently working at Medicins Sans Frontiere and for the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative, to step up their global campaign, while editing a new journal for European general Practitioners and the newsletter of the British Association of the Physicians of Indian Origin.

She recently left the international aid charity, Oxfam, where she was editor of, but still leads on Oxdocs, an initiative she created to inspire and encourage the medical profession to do something to help alleviate global poverty.

Rhona might be best known for her time at the BMJ (2000-2004) where she was editor of BMJ careers, editor of the student BMJ and assistant editor of the BMJ. In addition to initiating five different career services for doctors, she also helped to draw attention to the special problems faced by overseas doctors and doctors with disabilities and illnesses.

Before joining the BMJ, Rhona spent eight years in clinical practice, training and working as a GP, and laterally a public health doctor before specialising in tropical medicine. She has worked in developing countries with various NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations), particularly Bangladesh and Romania.She is currently working on assignments for the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Public Library of Science (PLOS) Medicine.Dr MacDonald has initiated and been involved with many international campaigns and is a fierce defender of human rights and social justice.


Rifat Wahhab is currently advising a Primary Care Trust on all aspects of learning and development. The role is challenging as well as being fulfilling. By being a part of the team that produces a strong learning programme for over 900 members of staff, Rifat is aware that the beneficiaries will also be patients who will receive higher quality care as a result of the training.

Rifat's career has centred on advising, developing and training individuals and organisations. Rifat has been particularly committed to communities who do not access traditional information and education routes. She worked for nine years in a NCVO project which later became independent helping inner-city voluntary groups across England develop as organisations so that they can provide stronger services to their communities.

Rifat also worked as an internal consultant for Haringey Council training and developing teams, departments and individuals so that the residents of Haringey can receive a better quality service.

Reflecting on her career so far, Rifat comments, "There has been a common thread in my career; from being a librarian for architects, to being a fundraising adviser for charities to being an internal consultant for local government and the NHS, I have been able to help organisations and professionals deliver the very best of services to those who need it most.”

Rifat holds a degree in Librarianship, two post graduate diplomas: Women's Studies and Diploma In Management Studies and a MA in Management Practice. Rifat has been a trustee of two charities: Abbey Community Association, serving the residents and non residents of South Westminster and the Consortium of Bengali Associations, a national charity set up to strengthen the Bengali voluntary sector.

In 2012 she became a Strategic Health Facilitator at CLCH.


So where does one begin a biography?

In the womb...? or further back with the idea of past lives. Or maybe it is a projection of one’s future life and where one's path is headed. Well I suppose it is that too. All I can really affirm here is that via the vehicle of my work, my life has been the discovery that....... all I really that I am.

For the working record, and since this is the only lifetime mortal me can recall at this time, I guess I will mention that it is influenced by having been educated around the world in at least 25 schools, having lived in as many cities and even more homes. On reflection, that is perhaps how I began my journey into wanting to understand the environment and how design may affect us.

I am the youngest in a family of 5 children brought up from an early age by a widowed and rather eccentric father. As siblings we experienced a rather unusual view of life, one which included not only many cityscapes but also long periods living at sea, and even surviving a plane crash.

To cope with all the continual crossings of culture and curriculum at the multifarious schools, I personally found it easier to lean towards the more common ground of maths and art. And so it was that architecture became my preferred area of study, though I did initially take a detour to Fine Art. Not surprisingly when I did my final thesis it was on.....architecture.

If one values one’s worth by editorial credit and financial reward, I suppose in my early working years I was a successful building developer and designer. But my real passion lay in understanding better what it was that made a building tick. And I was curious as to whether such a building could make us tick.

Over the years I studied social architecture, psychology of design, colour theory and human physiology in relation to ergonomics. For historical classical input I studied the Greeks and Egyptians, and then drifted east for a while, investigating the Chinese philosophy of the Tao, feng shui and India's vashtu to understand the Eastern take on environmental design and architecture. As a balance to these esoteric investigations, as best I could I studied lay bimolecular-chemistry and quantum mechanics to understand us and matter itself.

It was by integrating this unfolding information into my work that I found myself reaching for deeper pickings at the tree of life in general.

At a point of change in the 90s I took a gap year. I used it to work as creative director on film and video, along with lecturing at art schools. Working with leading lights of the stage and art/architecture world, as well as major players of the business world.....during this time I grew my skill... and my questions. At one stage I was invited in a professional capacity to Downing St. There, while sitting in Churchill's famous armchair and in response to questions about my evolving perspective on design, I was rather serendipitously able to quote the great man himself.

"We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us." Sir Winston Churchill.

While working on my book on quantum mechanics and architecture, and generally blowing myself away with the wonders of our Universe, I wrote two other books on the Tao, the environment and us - 'Chinese Whispers' - and - 'Good Vibes'.

Researching and writing through the night while working on sites during the day, my life went from teach-ins to academic soirees, and from spiritual retreats to building sites. Designing churches, factories and high street shops, along with country house estates and live / work studios, altogether a rather satisfying play on my evolving stage.

Oh - and I finally found out what made a building tick.


We are the cause, the affect and the effect.

So in that my biography and my life comes back to its beginning. From many environments as a child to more as an adult. Via architecture my life has been the search and discovery of my simply being an interdependent vibrating mineral in water along with everyone and everything else.

I am that, you are that, this is that and that is this.......

Rosalyn Dexter


Thought of the day

"You have to become toughened by the hammer strokes of joy and sorrow until you are unaffected by the vicissitudes of fortune"  Sri Sathya Sai Baba

Reverend Rosemary Perry (née Barry) has had extraordinary experiences in her life from early childhood. They include vivid past life flashbacks, prophetic dreams, ‘out of the body’ experiences, clairvoyance and clairaudience. Her path has been winding and very hard in places but she has never let go of her faith and trust in God. She also firmly believes that nature is indeed ‘God’s vesture’ and that nature is profoundly intelligent. She believes not only that, in reality, everything in our worldly perception is interconnected and all one but also that humans are meant to be at one with nature and see everything as divine but do not realise this. Instead we generally come from an entrenched, estranged and misguided fear of nature and of each other.

Many years were spent engaged in attuning to the mystical British landscape in order to heal the alienation she felt towards it, after nearly 20 years spent in Africa’s vibrant terrain and diverse cultures. She believes feelings of alienation are not always simply a matter of skin colour. Her actual rift was an internal one, a separation from her true self. She has, over three decades, visited and meditated at many sacred places around the world and has been a vegetarian for various periods in her life but constantly so since 1991.

Rosemary was born in Hampstead, London in 1950 and in 1954 she went with her parents by steam ship, to live in The Gambia (a British colony at the time).

Her first schooling in the country’s capital, Bathurst (now Banjul), was at ‘Mrs Bolton’s Kindergarten’ then at St Joseph’s Convent where the nuns gave you a beating on the palm of your hand, with a split bamboo cane, for every spelling that you got wrong in a daily test! …She became a very good speller!

In 1959 her family lived in Provence, in the South of France, for nearly a year. From there they moved to a North Yorkshire village where she was educated at the village primary school and then at the nearby Grammar School. During that period regular visits were made back to West Africa where her father worked as a Chartered Accountant.

Three-Dimensional Design: After a family move south she did a ‘One-year Foundation Course in Art’ at Tunbridge Wells Adult Education Centre, as a prelude to studying 3-Dimensional Design at Guildford School of Art in Surrey. She worked in Shepherd’s Bush in London for a design company, as an Exhibition Stand Designer, principally for the Earl’s Court and Olympia exhibition centres.

She later returned to Africa, this time to Zambia in Central Africa, where she worked variously for eight years as: a Graphic Artist and Programme Presenter for Educational TV Zambia, a Printer’s Layout Artist, a Jewellery Designer and was for the whole time very involved in set/costume design at The Kitwe Little Theatre on the Copperbelt.

There followed two years in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, then in 1981 she came back to England via six months in Malta, to live in Dorset with her two children.

Rosemary has developed and honed holistic and intuitive skills over forty years of working very closely with groups, clients and patients in different ways. She now allows her higher consciousness to direct sessions. She is a multi-discipline, ‘mixed skills’ complementary medicine practitioner.

In June 1986, she qualified as an analytical hypnotherapist with the Institute of Analytical Hypnotherapists. This later became the International Association of Hypno-analysts. She now specialises in highly focussed sessions designed to reach the core problem quickly.

In 1989, she became a homoeopath using Radiesthesia. She began training, in 1987, with an esteemed homoeopathy practitioner in Bournemouth, who is an expert in the field of Radiesthesia. This is a very useful tool in Homeopathic diagnosis. It involves dowsing along a calibrated box to ascertain the state of health and determine any inherited or acquired ‘miasma’ that may be points of weakness in the body’s energy field. She moved in 1988 to live near Winchester in Hampshire.

Ever since she first learned of the Buddhist proverb: “When the pupil is ready, the Master will appear,” this was something that she had yearned for. In 1991 Rosemary recognised, at a very deep level, the Holy Man, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, as that very Spiritual Teacher that she had always hoped would come into her life.

Past life investigation is something that Rosemary specialises in. She takes this very seriously and, since 1991, approaches this by either using hypnotic regression or by psychometry (reading the vibrations held within a personal item of the client). The purpose is always to seek a root cause or explanation for a seemingly insoluble problem or situation in this life. Clients have gone away and researched material that has arisen during their session and confirmed that it has indeed been fact.

Rosemary was, from 1994 – 1997, Global Coordinator of Fountain International (a worldwide organisation for Personal, Community and Earth Healing, using visualisation). During this time she organised annual international conferences, membership, circulation of magazine and so on. She became very involved in ‘Earth Healing’ work and took individuals and groups into Stonehenge, Avebury and many other wonderful landscape temples, including crop circles, to meditate and attune.

In the 1997 UK General Election she stood as a candidate, in May, for the Natural Law Party for a Southampton constituency and then again in November 1997, for the Winchester constituency, in that historic by-election. The main platform for her campaign was to end Genetic Modification of foodstuffs, to reform approaches to health by the NHS and to end the UK’s arms trade. Having developed her own style of meditation in the early 1980s, she was initiated into, and fully adopted, the Transcendental Meditation technique in August 1998.

Inspired to learn more about the world’s religions and spiritual pathways, Rosemary trained for two years at the first interfaith seminary in the UK. (This is now called the ‘Onespirit Interfaith Foundation’.) It was a sister branch of the world’s oldest interfaith seminary that was founded in 1981 in New York by Rabbi Joseph Gelberman. She was ordained as an Interfaith Minister in 2001 along with her husband, Steve.

As an Interfaith Minister, she is able to conduct services and rites of passage such as funerals, spiritual marriages, baby namings and house blessings. As a Spiritual Counsellor, she can offer people the means whereby they can learn from within how to live a life at a more soul-integrated level, with the perfect balance of mind, body and spirit.

In September 2005, she spoke at an Interfaith Forum at New Scotland Yard, in London, on the ‘July 7th Bombings’, emphasising that ‘community’ used to mean an entire group of people living within a certain geographical area – and was not a euphemism for a religious group living within an area.

In 2007 she was made a United Nations-related ‘Ambassador for Peace’, an award given by the Universal Peace Federation.

Rosemary was the National Vice Chair 2005 – 2007 and then National Chairperson 2007 – 2010 for the Sri Sathya Sai Service Organisation UK. She is currently a Trustee on the Sri Sathya Sai Charitable Trust UK.

Rosemary works with a set of impeccable morals and ethics, very intuitively and freely. She still sees a small number of patients and clients at her home in Hampshire. She has given talks on local radio and appeared in various news articles.

After two divorces early on in her life she now lives very happily with her husband Steve, whom she married in 1999. In April 1999, their Guru, the esteemed Indian Holy Man, humanitarian and educationist, Sri Sathya Sai Baba, asked them to marry and gave them a special personal Blessing in Southern India both for their marriage and for their future together. She has a son and a daughter who are happily married, and one grandchild – Luke - born on the ninth anniversary of the day Rosemary and Steve were given their Guru’s Marriage Blessing!

She regularly polishes dreams of:

Building a sustainable eco-home along ancient Vastu principles around an open central courtyard.

Seeing sacred geometry-based ‘Peace Temples’ built in all the major cities and towns of the world, to house knowledge of the various faiths and spiritual beliefs that exist. School children would learn universality there and spiritual-based drama and concerts would be performed in them.


Thought of the day

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."   Theodore Roosevelt

Ruth Powys is a conservationist and human rights advocate. Brought up by missionaries, her childhood was submerged in an atmosphere of passion and conviction. This upbringing instilled in Ruth a strong value system; however the strict gender roles followed by the Church coupled with a curiosity for other religious edicts ultimately drew Ruth away from this version of Christianity.

Along with her twin sister, Mary, Ruth developed into an outspoken advocate for human rights among her peers and became particularly sensitive to issues affecting women. This lead to her arrest in 1997 for organising a campaign against Virgin Cola’s sexually exploitative advertising.

She went on to read Early Modern History at the University of Essex where subjects such as slavery, genocide and gender history motivated her to pursue a career in the not-for-profit sector. After graduating, Ruth studied with the Institute of Public Relations. This equipped her with the vision to develop highly creative public art campaigns, which have raised over £10 million for numerous causes in the past 5 years.

In 2004 Ruth joined forces with the travel writer and adventurer, Mark Shand, to establish the conservation charity, Elephant Family. Between Mark’s black book and Ruth’s creative ideas and energy she developed the charity from a team of one to what it is today; a £3m turnover conservation power house for the endangered Asian elephant.

Her campaigns consistently feature life size elephants in a myriad of forms – from topiary to paint and high fashion - her bold and ambitious ideas have engaged the public and generated mass awareness and funds on a grand scale.Her most high profile campaign, Elephant Parade London (, was the capital’s largest outdoor art exhibition on record. More recently the charity executed The Big Egg Hunt which saw over 200 giant eggs hidden all over London, painted by world famous artists. The event broke two Guinness World Records and was the biggest egg hunt on record globally


Thought of the day

"All forms of art to a greater or lesser degree depend on science or technology. The more developed we become the greater is the dependence on scientific inputs"

Sai Paranjpye is one of India's internationally acclaimed Indian film-directors and scriptwriters. Her films include Sparsh, which she received many awards for, Katha, Chashme-Badoor, Saaz and Disha, for which she won an award from the Cannes Film Festival.

Her father, Youra Sleptzoff, a painter, was the son of a Russian General who died in battle. Her mother, Shakuntala Paranjpye, was one of the first Indian girls to study at Cambridge, going on to launch the family planning movement in India. Sai was brought up by her mother, whose name she took; and her maternal grandfather, Sir R.P. Paranjpye, India's first Senior Wrangler (Cambridge), a renowned educationalist, public servant and India's first high commissioner to Australia. Sai wrote her very first book at the age of eight. Her ability to weave fairy tales at such a young age made her mother realise that her daughter was blessed with some innate talent, which if given the right direction could blossom into a rewarding career.

She began her career at All India Radio in Pune. From AIR she moved on to theatre and then to television and films. Theatre has always been and will remain her first love, particularly the Marathi theatre. One of the prime reasons for this is its ability to connect with a live responsive audience. In an industry dominated by men, she has managed to carve a niche for herself.

Sai served for two terms as the Chairperson of Children's Film Society, Government of India. This extremely rewarding experience involves making decisions about various subjects related to children's films, an area in which she has won numerous accolades at both the national as well as international level. During her tenure she made four children's films for CFSI.

Sai asserts, "if you want to know the real me, try seeing it in my films which are laced by a gamut of human emotions and which cover a range of subjects that are ignored by today's filmmakers and writers. Today's cinema suffers a real dearth of good scriptwriters. The same old story is repackaged and sold to the audience in a new form. We need more writers who can reach out to the masses effectively."


Thought of the day

"May the power of silence devour our violence"

Sarah Miles was born on 31st December 1941 and is loved as one of Britain’s foremost theatre and film actresses. At the age of 15 she enrolled at RADA, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she was seen by Sir John Gielgud, who put her straight into the play he was directing in the West End, Dazzling Prospect, opposite Margaret Rutherford. Sarah then went on to Worthing Repertory Company, where she was talent-spotted, and appeared opposite her icon, Laurence Olivier, as a precocious schoolgirl in Terms of Trial. For many, Sarah was the icon of the 1960s – beautiful, bold and brilliant.

In the following years, she became a popular actress of ‘New Wave’ with her roles in Joseph Losey's The Servant and in Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up. After a stint in the National Theatre, and some more West End plays, Sarah’s outstanding performance in 1970, in the lead role of David Lean’s Ryan’s Daughter, earned her an Academy Award (‘Oscar’) nomination for Best Actress. In 1973, Sarah appeared in The Hireling, with Robert Shaw, which won the Cannes Film Festival award. 

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Sarah delivered superb performances in Lady Caroline Lamb, The Man Who Loved Cat Dancing, Magnificent Men and their Flying Machines, Great Expectations, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea, White Mischief, Hope and Glory.

Sarah prefers writing to acting and has written a one woman musical, Widow Smiles, and a three-handed play, Charlemagne, both of which have received excellent reviews in the UK and USA. Sarah has also written a trilogy of critically acclaimed memoirs – A Right Royal Bastard; Serves Me Right; and Bolt from the Blue. In 1998, Sarah authored her first book of fiction, Beautiful Mourning.

In 1967, Sarah married Robert Bolt, the award-winning playwright and screenwriter of Lawrence of Arabia, Ryan’s Daughter, The Mission, Lady Caroline Lamb, Dr Zhivago, and A Man for All Seasons – the latter two earning Robert Academy Awards. Robert’s plays include A Man for All Seasons, Flowering Cherry, The Tiger and a Horse, and Gentle Jack. Sarah and Robert were married for seven years, divorced for seven years, and remarried again for fourteen. Sadly, Robert died in 1995. They have one son together, Tom, and a grandson Billy.

Thought of the day

"My religion is very simple - my religion is kindness"  Dalia Lama

Sarida Brown has been nurtured in the Sufi path for decades, teaches and guides retreats for the Sufi Order, and is responsible for the Sufi Healing Order Worldwide. Sarida is the founder editor of Caduceus Journal, a magazine which is about healing for people, community and planet, and how we make a reality of our human ideals and spiritual vision.

Shauna Crockett-Burrows edits Positive News, a quarterly international newspaper which began life in 1993 reporting on the people, events and influences that are helping to create a more positive future for the world and its people.

Since those early days, Positive News has gone from strength to strength. The brainchild of Shauna, the paper now has a circulation of 75,000 worldwide and continues to expand in response to a global yearning for a future organised on the principles of democracy, social justice, respect for diversity and the earth's natural resources.

One of the most widely recognised alternative newspapers, Positive News reports on issues rarely covered by the mainstream media and promotes the many enterprises that are working for a sustainable future.

The UK edition of the paper is published by Positive News Publishing Ltd, a not-for-profit company based in the United Kingdom, which has initiated several overseas editions around the world in countries including Spain, United States, Hong Kong and Argentina creating a Positive News international network. This was followed by a monthly e-zine, Global Village News, which is circulated around the world.

Shauna has also created other publications including Living Lightly On the Earth, a colour magazine sent to Positive News subscribers and an education based magazine. She then worked with young people to create Positive Youth News, a youth-led multimedia news project.

Shauna had an early career in the theatre and local radio and then published her first magazine, Global Link Up, in the late 1970s after her raising her family. She received the Schumacher Award for her work in 1998.

Shauna sadly passed away on May 3rd 2012.


Shauna Crockett-Burrows obituary

Seán Dagan Wood

The Guardian - Monday 18 June 2012

For two decades my colleague Shauna Crockett-Burrows, who has died aged 81, pioneered a new approach to journalism by focusing upon the good in the world and the solutions to humanity's challenges. Shauna launched Positive News in 1993, and remained editor-in-chief until she died.

Born in Brighton, East Sussex, she attended Worthing high school for girls and then went to London where she worked as an actor and model. She met her first husband in the 1950s and the couple moved to West Sussex where they raised two daughters and Shauna promoted local artists. She then worked for the Arts Council and in 1970 established Shoreham Youth Workshop, a charity that ran arts and drama projects for young people.

Leading a successful campaign to protect the Adur estuary from a proposed road, Shauna also spent time as an independent local councillor. Her next enterprise involved growing and drying herbs for products sold at the first incarnation of Anita Roddick's Body Shop, in Hove.

Remarrying in the late 1970s, a pivotal moment then arrived when Shauna visited the Findhorn Foundation, a spiritual and sustainable community in Scotland. There she "woke up," as she described it, to a greater sense of life purpose. In the early 1980s, she established Link Up, a local newsletter to connect people interested in ideas outside mainstream debate. It grew into a national magazine before being replaced by Positive News in 1993, at which time Shauna moved to Bishop's Castle in Shropshire.

Positive News soon grew to a circulation of 50,000 copies, providing a snapshot of positive change across diverse fields of interest and leading the way in coverage of issues such as new economics, organic agriculture and renewable energy. The paper spread internationally, with sister editions set up by Shauna in Spain, Hong Kong, the US and Argentina.

Shortly after establishing Positive News, she also founded Global News Education Trust (later renamed Positive News Trust), a charity promoting awareness of the achievements and ideas of young people.

Shauna was renowned for her strong will, fiery independence and seemingly endless energy. In 1998 she received the Schumacher award, which honours people and organisations in the UK who are transforming society, and in 2007 was recognised as one of the World's Inspirational Women in a project created by the human rights campaigner Zerbanoo Gifford.

She is survived by her daughters, Siobhan and Jo, six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.



Norah Elizabeth Lane was born in Manchester in 1945.  She and the rest of her family, all had a weight problem.  As she grew into adulthood, this prompted her to study nutrition, dietetics, and psychology and, after resolving her own weight problem, worked for other slimming clubs, for experience, before reaching the decision to start her own slimming organisation in 1976. She created her own diet plan, which was incorporated in The British Council’s British Medicine Guide in December 1978 and January 1979.

In 1980, Norah started her postal slimming course, Slim-By-Post for invalids or slimmer's unable to join one of her 50 plus classes that were operating at that time. In 1985, Norah researched Human Metabolism with medical practitioners and developed her now famous Metabolic Rate Rotation Plan.  This changed the structure of the business from classes into one-to-one private slimming clinics, where diets were planned to suit the individual metabolism, needs and lifestyle of each client.

The first interactive slimming web site was funded and launched by Norah in 1997.  It worked very successfully with clients from all the continents taking up Norah’s courses. Tameside MBC granted the company two prestigious Awards for their innovative web site.   At the same time Norah received ‘Business Woman of the Year Award’ for her charity work, which raised over £100,000 for deserving causes through sponsored slimming   competitions that she arranged with her clients.

Norah was introduced to the horrors of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in 1999 by one of her clients, Sasha. From that meeting in Liverpool, Norah researched PCOS and with the help of PCOS volunteers, support groups and the medical profession, she developed, over a two-year period, the now famous PCOS Metabolic Rate Rotation diet plans.

Libby was the first Dietcare ‘PCOS’ baby.  Sasha McDonnell gave birth to Libby in April 2002, after she successfully piloted and followed the PCOS Metabolic Rate course. There have now been more than 200 PCOS healthy babies born to PCOS sufferers after they followed the Dietcare PCOS course.  A special PCOS website and Internet Course, including a help-line PCOS Support Group, monitored by PCOS advisers was launched by Norah on the world-wide web.

In 2005 the Manchester Chamber of Commerce offered Norah the opportunity to take part in New Products from Britain (NPFB) to promote her PCOS diets into the USA.

Norah has appeared many times on TV and spoken on the radio about obesity and PCOS.  She also specializes in helping children with weight problems and regularly gives health talks to children in schools.  She has joined Work Experience schemes to provide young teenagers with experience of applying for jobs, interviewing and office work.

She has been awarded the prestigious Disabled emblem for her positive attitude and services to disabled people, providing them with work and appropriate diets.

Norah has written three books: ‘Healthy Slimming Made Simple’ ‘The 13 Minute Diet’, and is about to publish her book on PCOS, ‘The Road To Recovery’.

She believes in healthy eating, with all Dietcare diets being based on healthy food, mainly organic, without pre-packaged food, pills, gimmicks or ‘fad’ diets.  Dietcare’s head office and training centre are based on an organic farm in Lymm in Cheshire.  More details can be obtained on or Telephone Number 01925 759425.

She is married to Francis, a retired bank manager, and has a son, Damian, who is an environmental manager with Manchester University.


Samantha Quinlan is the founder of the charity, LEAP EQUINE THERAPEUTIC CENTRE; her vision was to offer a foundation for people to learn about themselves - their choices, positive abilities, health needs and behaviours – through working therapeutically with horses, and creating opportunities for change.

Samantha has dedicated her time voluntarily to establishing and developing an organisation to further the treatment of people suffering from psychological, behavioural, emotional and related health problems through Equine Assisted Therapy.

The programmes she has developed with horses and humans over the years have helped thousands of people ranging from young to old.

Samantha manages a network of counsellors, psychologists, doctors, teachers and horse professionals that work with her to deliver programmes for client groups including, trauma survivors, young substance abusers, terminally ill, learning difficulties, autistic spectrum, young offenders and addiction.

“Through my own experiences and journey into recovery, I found that horses played a large part in telling me where I was within myself, my lack of confidence, self worth, fear and much much more.

It has been my goal to develop an organisation who's main aim is to provide a therapeutic programme that is both beneficial for our horses and our clients.

Whatever the primary issue, from self development to illness, Equine Therapy programmes enable us to get to the core elements that need to be processed held and cared for.”

LEAP is based in Gloucestershire at a purpose developed centre. They were the proud recipient of an award from Children in Need in 2010 towards work with  young people with a history of offending or displaying inappropriate behaviours as a result of abuse or trauma, providing the opportunity to develop self esteem in a non-threatening environment.


Karen King-Aribisala was born in Guyana. She has travelled widely, having been educated in Guyana, Barbados, Italy, Nigeria and England. She is now living and working in Nigeria where she is an Associate Professor of English in the department of English, University of Lagos, Nigeria.

Karen is a writer of non-fiction and fiction and regarding the latter she has published several short stories and poems in various journals such as Wasafiri, Presence Africaine, The Griot and Bim. Her first collection of short stories, Our Wife and Other Stories, won the Best First Book Prize in the Commonwealth Prize (African Region) 1990/91. Her second work, Kicking Tongues, is a blending of poetry and prose, in which she transposes Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales to modern-day Nigeria. Furthermore she has written a novel entitled The Hangman’s Game and two collections of short stories – Bitter Leaf Soup and Virginity Yam and Latinized Black.

She is the recipient of a number of awards such as two James Mitchner Fellowships for creative writing at the University of Miami, a Ford Foundation Grant and British Council grants. She is married with one son.

Karen King-Aribisala won the Best Book prize in the Commonwealth Literature Prize (2008)(African Region)

She received a Camargo Foundation Fellowship, France-2008 and a Djerassi Foundation fellowship California--2008.

Was interivewed on the B.B.C. Bush House-on her novel 'The Hangman's Game'--2008

Gave a reading at the British Museum, London--2008


Dame Kate Harcourt was born on 16th June 1927 in North Canterbury, New Zealand. Her professional career began in the 1960s with the pre-school radio programme Listen with Mother and Junior Magazine, a weekly WNTV1 weekly children’s programme. Since then she has worked extensively on radio, television, film and in theatre.

In 1990 and 1991 she toured internationally with Colin McColl’s Downstage Theatre production of Hedda Gabler to the Edinburgh Festival, Oslo, London and Sydney. She was a founder member of Hen's Teeth, the Women’s Comedy Group which has toured most of New Zealand and to the Adelaide Festival. In 1996 she appeared with her daughter, Miranda, in the International Festival production of Flowers from my Mother's Garden, written by Miranda and her husband, Stuart McKenzie, which subsequently toured both the North and South Islands.

Since then Kate has appeared in three productions of The Vagina Monologues, one of which toured to Nelson and Christchurch and in The Musicians of Bremen for the National Children’s Theatre, which toured to the Taranaki Festival, Hawera, Palmerston North and Auckland. She was part of the ‘ loop group’ which recorded ‘voice offs’ for The Lord of the Rings; she appeared in the stage adaptation of Maurice Gee’s The Half Men of O for Calico Theatre in Napier; performed in The Truth about Love in Circa’s Studio for Christmas 2003; in Joe Musaphia’s Ugly Customers; in 2005 Blood, Guts & Khaki in the Circa theatre Studio and in Renee’s Wednesday to Come at Downstage Theatre.

Kate has adjudicated for the Sheilah Wynn Shakespeare Festival and has taught Speech and Drama at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre. She is on the Board of Studies at Toi Whakaari, the New Zealand Drama School and a tutor at the National Singing School in Napier. Kate is also a patron of several arts organisations. In 1996 was honoured to be made Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her contribution to theatre, and in 1997 she was chosen as The Evening Post’s Wellingtonian of the Year.


Dr Kusoom Vadgama was born in Kenya in 1932, and studied optometry in London and the Illinois College of Optometry. Kusoom also attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. In 1961 she set up her optometry practice in London.

Kusoom is also an authority on the history of the Indian peoples in the British Empire and has published three well-received books.

India in Britain 1852-1947 with forewords by Prince Charles and The Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi,

British-Indian campaigns in Britain for Indian reforms, justice and freedom 1831-1947.

“An Indian Portia: Selected Writings of Cornelia Sorabji (1866-1954)."

An Indian Portia won Kusoom the prestigious Asian Achievers Award Gold Award. She was presented with the Editor of the Asian Voice Award for Research and Compilation at the 2011 Asian Achievers Awards in London.

I'm going to be doing the exhibition panel documents today, but fear not! I will return to the missing women/biogs/photos tomorrow.


Lena was born in Bangalore, where she received her schooling and undergraduate degree in Child Development. After completing her postgraduate degree in Nutrition and a higher post graduate research degree in rural and social development at Reading University, UK, in 1979, she dedicated her life to international development and remained a senior development professional working in Asia and Africa. She was Deputy Director for MYRADA in India,  OXFAM, GB’s Field Director for India, Asia Manager for Marie Stopes International, South Asia Regional Adviser for International Planned Parenthood Federation, Director of the Confederation of Indian Organisations, Executive Director of European Multicultural Foundation, Asia Regional Manager for Water Aid, Tear Fund,  Head of International Programmes for Interact Worldwide, East Africa  Regional Manager for Merlin and currently is the Head of Programmes, Asia for Leonard Cheshire Disability. Lena is also passionately committed to the promotion of the Inter-Faith movement and founded the Mosaic Community Trust, which is based in Westminster, London.  Lena is married to Howard Salter, a London based Solicitor and her daughter Anjalee is a Classics graduate from Edinburgh.



"Re-inventing oneself is the joy of life!"

Leonora van Gils was born on 6th April 1948 in Hereford, UK but grew up in Copenhagen where her father was the physician to the Royal Court. At the age of 13 she was sent to boarding school in England.

She wanted to become a physciatrist but got diverted into films and advertising just as she was leaving school. It was not until the age of 46, when her own daughter had left full-time education, that she shifted her focus of work and entered the world of complementary medicine. Finally, she had found an avenue for satisfying her passion to help other people. She realised that for a person to be well, the body, mind and spirit needed to be addressed to come back to wholeness. She first studied to become an iridologist at Queen Elisabeth Hospital. Then followed a qualification in reflexology, followed by a qualification as a P.E.P. counsellor. During this time she also studied an ancient art of healing and became a Reiki Master after 5 years of study. She had many clients worldwide including members of the Royal family.

In 1998 she decided to set up a healing centre in Florida, where she studied the healing effects of wild dolphins. Many people came from all over the world to have dolphin and healing therapy, which appealed to families with sick children, especially autistic and dying children. During this time she also worked with Dr Horace Dobbs to formulate a Dolphin Healing Dome that would allow a dolphin experience without real dolphins being involved. In 2001 she came back to the UK and set up a Healing and Retreat Centre in Suffolk.

Her passion for theology and wanting to draw on the spiritual aspect of the human mind, she studied at the Inter-Faith Seminary in London and was ordained as an Inter-Faith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor in August 2005.

She has a deep desire to help people help themselves back to wellness in body, mind and spirit and believes that with all her studies and experience over the past decade, she has a lot to offer people as well as the Asha Foundation whose dreams and aspirations mirror her own.

Ordained an Inter-Faith Minister and Spiritual Counsellor since 2005 and also Allergy Specialist since 2006.

In her free time Leonora fund-raises for Orphans in India, especially HIV orphans.


Lila Poonawalla was born on September 16th, 1944 in Hyderabad Sindh and came to India as a refugee. She was one of five siblings and moved from a camp to Pune with the support of relatives. She was the first female mechanical engineering student at the Government College of Engineering, Pune. Being a woman in a male-dominated engineering field made Lila even more determined to prove herself. She graduated with a First Class Degree, in 1967.

She went on to be the first lady Mechanical Engineer in India, and rose from being an apprentice to becoming the Chairman and Managing Director of a Swedish multinational company, Alfa Laval, in less than twenty years.

Her rich professional experience and dynamic leadership have resulted in steady engagements with companies, institutions and NGOs that seek her advice. She has been sharing, and ensuring that they build on her leadership values and successful management strategies. She is currently on the Boards of a number of Companies.

She has undergone many management-training programmes at IIM Ahmedabad, Sweden, and Harvard and Stanford Universities in USA.

She is recipient of many awards, most important being the Padmashree conferred on her by the President of India in 1989 and in August 2003 she has been recognized internationally. His Majesty, The King of Sweden, conferred the Royal Order of the POLAR STAR, naming her as an Officer of the Royal Order for her valuable services to Sweden in many ways and through many years.

She also runs her own foundation, the Lila Poonawalla Foundation, which gives financial support for post-graduate studies to first class girls who are economically needy. “I wanted to motivate women to step into the next millennium with confidence and encourage them to meet the challenges. I recognized the need to provide financial assistance to deserving girls in pursuit of higher education, and in shaping their own destinies. It was this consideration that motivated me to institute the foundation”.

This Foundation is unique in a way that it makes an all out effort to communicate regularly with all the past Lila Fellows through a quarterly newsletter called ‘INSPIRA’ and also through an E-group, no matter in which part of the world the young girls are either studying or working. Also the Foundation is arranging various Training Programmers, Personality Development Programmers, Picnics, Study Tours, and New Year Party etc. Through phone calls, email and personal meeting the Foundation encourages Lila Fellows to participate in various programmers. The Foundation has distinctive approach towards keeping touch with the Lila Fellows. Every Lila Fellow receives a birthday greeting and those in Pune also receive a small gift from Mrs. Poonawalla.

In short, as our Lila Fellows says “It is the Foundation which has human face and heart.” Its motto is Leading Indian Ladies Ahead (LILA)


After graduating from Nepal University with a Master’s Degree in Sociology, Lily Thapa became involved with helping women coming from remote districts. Since 1994 she has been devoting herself to establishing her organization as a strong and recognized presence for single women and has helped set up similar single women’s groups in 34 other districts of Nepal. Inviting Nepali widows out of isolation and dependency in their homes, Lily Thapa connects them with each other in single women’s groups that are spreading throughout Nepal. The groups give the widows – or single women, a term Lily uses to replace the heavily symbolic “widow” – an encouragement to build a new future. Her work moves isolated women who have been considered unlucky and unwanted, into a possible force for change in themselves and their communities. She is founding Director of Women for Human Rights, a single women’s group, and also currently lectures in Sociology.

The impact of Lily’s work is also evident in the increased attention to single women’s issues on the government agenda in the 10th Five Year Plan. This is seen as an extremely strategic and positive step for the advancement of single women. These programmes are being implemented through the Ministry of Women and Children, the Social Welfare Council, NGO’s and local government agencies from the first year after it is passed by the Parliament. Lily found herself widowed at the young age of 34 when her husband Major Dr. Amir Thapa died in the Gulf War in 1992. She fought for the compensation of her husband and received it only after 3 years after legally fighting for it through the UN.


Her Excellency, Ms Lindiwe Mabuza, was born in Newcastle, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa.

She began her career in 1962 teaching English and Zulu Literature at Manzini Central School in Swaziland, followed by lecturing in the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota.

Between 1969 and 1979 she became Assistant Professor of Literature and History at Ohio University and then moved to Zambia to take up a position as a radio journalist with the African National Congress's Radio Freedom. She was also Editor of the Voice of Women, a journal by African National Congress women, and Chairperson of the African National Congress Cultural Committee in Zambia.

Her publications include: "Malibongwe", "One Never Knows" - poetry and short stories by African Congress Women; "From ANC to Sweden", "Letter to Letta", "Africa to me", "Voices that Lead" - poetry collections.

During the period of 1979 to 1987 she represented the African National Congress in Scandinavian countries based in Sweden. She facilitated the opening of African National Congress offices in Denmark, Norway and Finland. From 1989 to 1994 she was the Chief Representative of the African National Congress to the United States and opened an office in Washington DC. Member of Parliament, Republic of South Africa, 1994-95; Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, 1995-.

Honorary Ph.D., University of Durban-Westville, South Africa, 1993;
Yari Yari Award for contributions to Human Rights and Literature, New York University, 1997

Lisette Talate was born on 19th March 1941 in Diego Garcia, the Chagos Islands, located in the Indian Ocean. She describes her childhood in the Chagos as idyllic where she wanted for nothing.

In 1974, her life and that of all the islanders was thrown into turmoil when they were forcibly removed from the Chagos by the British colonial government, who wanted to clear the islands for the US government to create a strategic placed naval base in Diego Garcia. The islanders were promised housing, education and employment in Mauritius, however the reality was that they were left to fend for themselves at the margins of society.

For over thirty years, Lisette has been a leading figure in the plight of the Chagossian people to return to the islands, being voted as the Vice President of the group, Refugies Chagos. In 2000, the Chagossians had a symbolic victory in the British High Court; this victory was quashed by subsequent actions of the UK government to undermine the judgement and block the Chagossians right of return.

Lisette is also a prominent member of the women’s movement in her community. She believes that women are responsible for the family’s financial security, and ensure that all the family’s needs are provided for with savings to spare. Her role models are Nelson Mandela – a real source of her inspiration – and Anjalay Coupen, a woman worker in the 1940s who was killed by policemen while militating for better working terms and conditions.

In 2005, Lisette’s tremendous and ongoing work was recognized by the international community, and she was one of the 1000 women who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Lisette passed away on Jan 4th 2012

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