What Can We Do?

Prema Menon

The world might seem like a scary place right now, but it is important to remember that there is a lot of good happening around us. In this podcast, host Prema Menon speaks to social enteprises, charities, not for profits and committed individuals who are all working tirelessly to make this world a kinder, more compassionate and equal place to live in.

Season 2 Trailer
Trailer 1 min 33 sec

All Episodes

Rough Edges is a community centre for people experiencing homelessness and other forms of marginalisation in Darlinghurst. This drop-in centre is operated by St John's Anglican Church, and supervised by Team Leader, Ryan Naoum. As a service, Rough Edges aims to create safe space where community is fostered and individuals can move from crisis to flourish. In this episode, Ryan talks about the issues facing Darlinghurst's communities, how Rough Edges has found new ways to create impact owing to the pandemic, and the misconceptions people have about communities experiencing homelessness. What Can We Do is produced by Samuham Media, and hosted by Prema Menon. This podcast is also available on major podcast platforms.

Dec 1

22 min 19 sec

Tasnia Alam co-founded ARISE Foundation to reveal the impact of financial abuse and provide financial freedom for women traditionally considered 'unbankable'. Tasnia has a background in Applied Finance and Law and was most recently an Associate Director at NSW Treasury. She has a decade of public and private sector experience across various industries, including audit, legal, corporate finance and public policy development. In this episode, Tasnia talks about what motivated her to start Arise, what financial abuse looks like, and the impact Arise Foundation hopes to create.  What Can We Do is produced by Samuham Media, and hosted by Prema Menon.  This podcast is also available on major podcast platforms.

Nov 24

19 min 46 sec

Merciful Servants has delivered over 150,000 packets of food over the last 7 years, supporting Brisbane's homeless and vulnerable populations. Managing Director, Ansary Muhammed, started this organisation with the aim to end hunger, in a city where approximately 1 in 200 people experience homelessness.  In this episode, Ansary talks about what drives him, the challenge Brisbane's communities are now facing and how he's nurturing the next generation of community leaders.  What Can We Do is produced by Samuham Media, and hosted by Prema Menon. Prema works in a project and operations capacity in the not-for-profit sector. Check out previous episodes and transcripts here: whatcanwedopodcast.com   This podcast is also available on major podcast platforms.

Nov 10

17 min 22 sec

Charishma Kaliyanda was elected to the Liverpool City Council in 2016. Charishma was born in Bangalore, India, and moved to Australia when she was four years old. Starting her journey in student politics, Charishma has become an important voice for Liverpool City communities.   In this episode, Charishma talks about the hurdles women of colour need to clear in elected office, how the recent strict lockdowns affected southwest Sydney communities, and why local community representation is important. What Can We Do is produced by Samuham Media, and hosted by Prema Menon. Prema works in a project and operations capacity in the not-for-profit sector. Check out previous episodes and transcripts here: whatcanwedopodcast.com   This podcast is also available on major podcast platforms.

Nov 3

23 min 32 sec

COOK4CALD started as a passion project to feed culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities facing hardship in the City of Casey. The organisation was founded by Ashvina De Zoysa. Today it has grown into a 50 member strong volunteer organisation that has become a vital source of support for CALD individuals and families who live in the City of Casey and surrounding areas.   In this episode, I speak to Olivia Acciarito, COOK4CALD's Treasurer. Olivia joined as a volunteer during the first summer food relief program in 2020.    Olivia talks about the gap that COOK4CALD fills, the barriers that CALD communities face during crises and how we can look out for one another in our communities. What Can We Do is produced by Samuham Media, and hosted by Prema Menon.  Prema works in a project and operations capacity in the not-for-profit sector. Check out previous episodes and transcripts here: whatcanwedopodcast.com   This podcast is also available on major podcast platforms.

Oct 27

22 min 48 sec

Tessa Deak is a Mount Gambier based disability advocate who has led and been involved in several chronic illness, mental health, and disability-related initiatives in the Limestone Coast. Tessa is passionate about making a change in her community and tries to use her lived experience of chronic illness/disability to educate others and spread awareness. Tessa has been recognised for her work and won the 7News SA Young Achiever Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Rural Health Award in 2021, among other nominations.   In this episode, Tessa talks about how she got started in advocacy work, the changes she has observed through the course of her work, and how to overcome the fear of stepping outside of your comfort zone.  What Can We Do is produced by Samuham Media, and hosted by Prema Menon.  Prema works in a project and operations capacity in the not-for-profit sector. Check out previous episodes and transcripts here: whatcanwedopodcast.com   This podcast is also available on major podcast platforms.

Oct 20

19 min 54 sec

Paige Krystal Wilcox (she/her) uses Intentional Storytelling to create compelling stories that counter mainstream media's unhealthy or unhelpful bias, tropes, and stereotypes. In this episode, Paige shares why she got started in Intentional Storytelling, the challenges she initially faced, and what she has learnt through her journey so far.  What Can We Do is produced by Samuham Media, and hosted by Prema Menon.  Prema works in a project and operations capacity in the not for profit sector.    Check out previous episodes and transcripts here: whatcanwedopodcast.com   This podcast is also available on major podcast platforms.

Oct 10

29 min 19 sec

6th Sense, a charity based in Singapore, recognises the growing inequalities in the country. They work with children and mothers who live in public rental scheme neighbourhoods,  home to low income families whose total income is below 1500 Singapore dollars  a month 6th Sense and its volunteers conduct activity based workshops with the children, to help with expression, personal and community development. They go a step further and befriend the mothers, and guide them through daily issues they might encounter.   In this episode, founders of the charity  Abhishek, Manisha and Jezamine talk about how they enable the families they work with, the challenges they face, and why the work they do is important. 

Nov 2020

24 min 21 sec

Mental health and emotional well-being, two things that are on many people's minds these days.  In this episode, I speak to Singapore born Usha Raman, a trainer and life coach based in Perth, Western Australia. Usha's focus is mindfulness and emotional intelligence. Usha will give us a basic understanding of what mindfulness is, how it can help in difficult times and simple ways we can introduce the practice in our lives. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook

Oct 2020

28 min 12 sec

Environmental activism is growing steadily, as more of us are getting educated on the perils of climate change. While there is a lot of discussion on how changing human activities and behaviours can help in the fight against environmental threats, the actual solutions for some communities are not this simple. Sofiah Jamil realised this as an environmental activist. In Central Lombok, she witnessed that communities could not be focused on saving trees, when they were struggling for basic access to resources like water.  Sofiah has since left her activism days behind in search of ways to meaningfully help communities in need. She has recently co-founded Pantry Perch, as a side initiative of her main PR & political consultancy business, Hornbills- Concepts and Communications. The aim of this business is to help promote and support brands within the Asian region that are socially responsible.  In this episode, Sofiah talks about why she left environmental activism, what her business Pantry Perch aims to do, and how we can all step out of our bubbles.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Aug 2020

18 min 49 sec

Singaporean and Singapore based artistes operate in a unique arts and culture environment - censorship, government funded grants and mainstream media channels that are mostly operated by state owned subsidiaries. This combination limits the scope of works that are produced. Rishi Budhrani has been navigating this industry for over a decade now as an actor, performer, entertainer and comedian. Rishi talks about how this distinctive landscape has shaped his craft, his latest project The Rishi Report, and how he thinks the industry will evolve post COVID. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Jun 2020

31 min 26 sec

Homelessness is Singapore is a topic that is not widely discussed in the country. In recent years, there have been books published about inequalities in Singapore society, as well as academic articles. Liyana Dhamirah's book "Homeless - The Untold Story of a Mother's Struggle in Crazy Rich Singapore" is the first of its kind, told from a first person encounter. Liyana experienced homelessness over a decade ago, and she wrote this book to raise awareness. Today, she is a Befriender for those who are homeless, and helps them navigate Singapore's bureaucratic system to get the aid they need. She also runs her own business, Virtual Assistant Singapore, and employs single mothers. In this interview, Liyana talks about her journey towards getting this book published, the reaction its received, and how fellow Singaporeans can help those who are vulnerable.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Jun 2020

33 min 6 sec

There are a range of support services available across Australia to help people fleeing danger or at risk of being vulnerable. However, a lot of the times the burden of rebuilding their lives with essential household items falls on the vulnerable person. The Generous and The Grateful partners with available support services, by connecting household donations with the people that need them for a home. CEO and Co-Founder Carmen Platt talks about why she started this service, the difference it makes, and how all of us should approach helping. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Apr 2020

20 min 56 sec

The world around us is becoming increasingly uncertain. Some people turn to faith at times like these. This special episode is a recording of my conversation with Pravrajika Gayatriprana, President of the Vedanta Society of NSW. A senior Nun of the Sri Sarada Math of the Ramakrishna Order, Pravrajika Gayatriprana talks about how faith and spirituality can help us through chaos. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Mar 2020

30 min 53 sec

Online fundraising is a major source of funds for not for profits and charities. These organizations have faced criticism over the years about how a portion of donations do not go towards those in need. Benojo, led by Pascal Adolphe, is a fundraising platform that's trying to simplify the act of giving for donors and organizations.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Mar 2020

17 min 18 sec

About 7 million tonnes of waste goes into landfills each year in Australia. Guido Verbist and his team at The Bower Reuse and Repair Centre want that to stop. To date, the organization has diverted over 2 tonnes of waste from the landfill, and continue their efforts through repair cafes, education, their stores and by leading campaigns to hold manufacturers responsible. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Mar 2020

20 min 41 sec

Australian content still has a long way to go in terms of representing diverse and inclusive voices, despite years of dialogue and debate. Vonne Patiag is a Filipino Australian filmmaker who has worked in the industry for over a decade. In this episode, Vonne talks about how he found his authentic voice, what it lends to his art, the inclusive practices he used in the making of his web series "Halal Gurls", and how POC content creators are finding their own platforms outside of traditional media. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Mar 2020

22 min 5 sec

Tamil is the third most frequently spoken Indian language at home in Australia. However, there are no formal systems in place to help this language thrive and grow for future generations. The preservation of the language usually falls to families. Vanitha Veerasamy started Vaaranam Children's Books as a way to get her own child engaged in her mother tongue, and as a resource for other Tamil children living in Australia.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Feb 2020

19 min 24 sec

Social enterprises are on the rise, as more and more people feel a call to live with purpose. Tom Dawkins founded StartSomeGood, a crowdfunding platform to lower barriers to ensure as many voices get represented in the social enterprise landscape.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Feb 2020

13 min 33 sec

Human trafficking has become the fastest growing crime in the past few years and experts agree that the problem is getting worse. Dr Abi Foluké Badejo, Founder & Director of Grace + Grit Social Enterprise, implements her research findings to effect social behaviour change, along with providing opportunities and options to survivors in Nigeria and Cameroon. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Feb 2020

20 min 24 sec

LGBTQI+ people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds face multiple barriers in society and in their professional careers. Kamalika Dasgupta, founder of SheQu Group Inc, wants to ensure that LBT+ women of colour in Australia have the tools and resources they need to live their best possible life. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Feb 2020

21 min 11 sec

Lack of digital inclusion affects approximately 2.5 million Australians, 10% of the population. YourLink's co-founder, Richard Scenna, talks about how the social enterprise is working to change this for a particular digitally excluded group - older Australians, seniors, through technology.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Jan 2020

20 min

Welcome back to Season 2 of this series. New episodes will be launched from 27th January onwards. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Jan 2020

1 min 33 sec

Lisa & Zoe Paisley are working with Fijian farmers to increase their income and food security through Aggie Global. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Sep 2019

18 min 17 sec

Liz Scully and her board members are expanding crisis accommodation services for women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with the opening of Parramatta Women's Shelter.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Sep 2019

14 min 30 sec

Megan Etheridge is harnessing community goodwill to support vulnerable women, through Dress for Success Sydney. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Aug 2019

18 min 55 sec

Anita Howell is cultivating sustainability and spreading compassion with repurposed event flowers, through Perpetual Blooms, in Sydney, Australia. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Aug 2019

14 min 49 sec

Malin Frick founded Northern Beaches Clean Up Crew, in Sydney, to solve an immediate litter problem on her local beaches. 5 years on, Malin and her Crew are leading the campaign against single-use plastic in their communities and neighbourhoods. ⁠ Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram ⁠

Aug 2019

17 min 16 sec

As a child, Nina Sackprasith knew she had to help children who were living in poverty. Now a young adult, Nina is turning this belief into a reality, through her homegrown beauty business, Vivre Co Australia.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Aug 2019

11 min 6 sec

Inspired by his own unremarkable tertiary education in Australia, Julian O'Shea set up Unbound. His organization designs education programs that are more accessible and have real world and sustainable impact for communities across the Asia Pacific region. Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Jul 2019

13 min 13 sec

Rinku Razdan migrated to Australia as a bride. After 7 years, she had to rebuild her life with a 3 year old son, with very little money. Her experience motivated Rinku to start Connections Australia, a multilingual, mobile app that uses data and API to connect migrants and refugees with a community, jobs and settlement information. Website (for show notes and transcripts) whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Jul 2019

20 min 4 sec

Why I decided to start this podcast.  Website (for show notes and transcripts) www.whatcanwedopodcast.com Socials Facebook Instagram

Jul 2019

51 sec