By Karen Mandy Living in the bush in southern Africa for twenty five years was wonderful while my children were growing up. It was when they began to leave home, first for high school and then for university, that the wheels fell off and I began to realize I’d lost sight of who I was and what I wanted in my life. I had been a local pastor for over ten years and my whole family had been involved in serving a local informal settlement over that time; with everything from veggie gardens, to soup kitchens, youth programmes and grandmother projects. I had mentored and counselled people of all ages and walks of life and I realized my heart was in helping others to help themselves. So began the journey. I teamed up with my best friend from high school, Jane, who lives in UK with her husband and two children and we signed up for a one year coaching course from University of Cape Town. This meant Jane had to fly out to Africa three times that year. It was a huge commitment, but opened up a whole new world of self-healing to both of us – mentally, physically and emotionally. At the time, Jane had been a corporate training and development consultant for over twenty five years. We put our collective heads together and birthed our first online program for women, “Rediscovering My Life”. It was wonderful to see other women go through the program and come out on the other side with a renewed sense of self-worth, purpose and direction. Our journey over the past three years can be likened to climbing the proverbial mountain. We have had to learn how to work with each other online, whilst being on two separate continents and find ways to serve and connect with our audience which is global. The wonderful thing is, that through all of this, we have discovered the power of diversity and being able to connect and collaborate with other women around the globe. Shine is a platform dedicated to fostering creativity and collaboration so that ideas can be turned into action. Members can bring their own project ideas to the Shine network for support and involvement or they can offer their own skills and knowledge to existing projects. And importantly, whatever their level of involvement – Shine wants its members to have fun and the opportunity to make new friends. The Shine community is international and whilst initially focused on women, men are very welcome too! It’s mission is to have one million female members globally by 2023 and in setting this ambitious target Jane and I took inspiration from the words of Matthew Arnold: “If ever there comes a time when women of the world come together, purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known”. We have seen this in action in a project started to provide masks to protect key workers in eSwatini during the COVID crisis while ensuring the employment of the factory workers who made them. This was a Shine project that developed to involve members on 3 continents! If you are interested in joining the Shine community, or simply want to know more about its current projects please go to : tiny.cc/weshine where you can contact Karen or Jane. Brilliant!!