Give a brief summary of you and your journey
My name is Emilee, I am a seventeen year old who works as a Certificate 3 Dementia Nurse. I’ve always had a passion for doing mission work, and about a week ago I got back from my first mission trip, where I spent ten days in Vanuatu, volunteering at a Christian School there.
During the mission, I would go into the lower grades of the school and help kids with their school work, mostly English and religion based work. We also helped with a little building (mostly painting really), and just tried to do anything we could to help out, including playing and spending quality time with some of the children who lived at the school.
While over in Vanuatu I came up with the idea to try and start an organization, in which boxes of basic medical supplies were made up and then given to places like churches or even school groups to take over to countries where people may be in need of these supplies and help. These boxes would be taken into schools or community places where they could be easily accessed by anyone who needed them. I already have a name chosen for when this organisation becomes a reality - I will call it “Little Red Box”.
What drove you to start up/make a major change to your business/business life?
On the second day of the trip, I was playing with some of the kids who lived at the school. We were sitting on top of these massive water tanks that were on their sides, which the kids were using as a slide, when I noticed one of the girls had what looked like a very nasty and deep cut on her leg.
I quickly went back to the house I was staying at, remembering that there was a first aid kit inside the house. I grabbed my hand bag, emptied it and then filled it with medical stuff I would need, things like Dettol, Band-Aids, Peroxide, Antiseptic spay, just basic medical supplies.
I went back to the little girl and helped to clean up the wound on her leg the best I could. The next day one of the other kids came and found me and asked if I could help them with a similar looking infected cut on his arm. I started to notice that all the kids had exactly the same thing, it was a rare sight to see a kid at the school without a nasty looking cut somewhere on their skin.
I found a red box (thus where the name comes from) and I then filled it with medical supplies and went around to the different school grades. One by one kids were coming over to have their wounds cleaned and dressed. It actually got to the point that when I went into one class, I didn’t even need to say anything - as soon as the kids saw the bright red box, hands went in the air, all of them. All the kids were begging their teacher to be able to have their wounds fixed. Even some of the teachers came to me for help.
Some of these wounds were so severe, that one girl had a nasty limp because it was so painful. Things that are just common household medical supplies in other countries, that rarely ever get used and just sit in a cupboard, are things that would be seen as a privilege to some kids. Seeing and experiencing this is what is driving me to try and start up this organisation.
What’s been your proudest moment?
My proudest moment so far was realizing at the end of my trip that in two of my last days I had cleaned and dressed over 150 kids’ wounds at the school. While I felt proud in this moment, I was also very happy, as I knew that these kids would be a little better off.
What do you think will be the biggest challenges you will face?
I think the biggest issue I’m going to face is probably trying to get this idea heard and out into the world, trying to get people behind my idea. Setting it up to is going to be a challenge.
The idea is still new and not concrete or anywhere near being complete. I’m not quite sure exactly how it’s going to work yet but that will come with time, this will be one of the challenges I’m going to have to get through.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I am hoping to eventually have a symbol something that kids everywhere will see and associate with help – free, good quality help. I want this to be the “Little Red Box”. I hope that this idea will be a reality.
What would you say is the recipe for success?
Honestly I think just support and belief is all you need.
I know that sounds cheesy but I really think it’s the truth, when you have a lot of people backing an idea, that idea usually goes somewhere, not always the place you want it to go but at least it’s somewhere.
What have you learned about yourself?
What I’ve learnt about myself? I think if anything I’ve learnt more about the world than myself. However, in saying that, I have learnt things about myself.
I’ve learnt my place in the order of social class. The fact I was born into a place where I was safe, and I could get something as simple as a Band-Aid when I needed it. Small things to me, that are so big to other people.
I’ve learnt that I, and many other people have become selfish and blind to the problems that I’ve never had to face before. Being surrounded by these things, as confronting as they were opened my eyes to the things that I’d learnt to “forget” and not think about.
Who would you most like to employ in your business famous or otherwise?
I would like to employ Natalie Portman because of all of the charities, and causes she supports. Examples of her charities and foundations she supported include 826 National, Afghanistan Relief Organization, Artists for Peace and Justice, Everyone Matters, Food Bank for New York City, PETA, Shoe4Africa, The Lunchbox fund. I love what she stands for and how committed she is to her beliefs. I believe that if she worked for me she would be loyal, and would work for a cause to the best of her ability.
What is the best advice you have received?
The best advice that I have ever received was from my sister, she told me “If you plan on succeeding with this then you I have to be 100% committed, and give it all that you can.”
I hold the opinion that it’s the best advice I have received because I feel that to get this off the ground, as there will be times when I may think that there is no possible way that I can do it, and I will need remember, that when I committed to going through with it I promised 100%. Nothing more, nothing less.
I know that with such a bold idea there will be trials and tribulations, but that’s what will make the end product so worth it.