What Can We Do?

News & Politics Podcasts

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 enterprises, 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.




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 enterprises, 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.






A grassroots solution for the small plastic problem - Tim Miller, Lids4Kids

The Lids4Kids grass roots movement has stepped in to solve the small plastic problem in Australia. Lids4Kids Australia was founded as a grass-roots 100% volunteer project in May 2019 by Tim Miller, a Canberra-based full-time house Dad with three boys under ten. Today Lids4Kids is a registered charity committed to rescuing every plastic bottle lid from going into landfill to protect our environment and benefit kids. Highlights from this episode include why Tim started the organisation, the...


Play spaces for all abilities - Justine Perkins, Touched by Olivia

Play spaces for all abilities should exist at the heart of neighbourhoods. The Touched by Olivia Foundation was founded by Justine and John Perkins after they tragically lost their baby daughter, Olivia to a rare illness when she was just eight months old. Following this devastating event, John and Justine devoted themselves to positively enhancing the lives of children and their families. Highlights from this episode include the three principles of inclusive play, the power of communities...


A sustainable future through co-operatives - Molly Kendall, The Co-op Federation.

The time we live in presents an excellent opportunity for the future of co-operatives. COVID-19 has laid bare the failures of the current globalised capitalist system, which the co-operative model is well suited to address. Molly Kendall oversees Communications and Business Development at The Co-op Federation. The Co-op Federation advocates for the co-operative sector; raises public awareness; provides education, resources and networking opportunities; assists in forming co-operatives and...


Inclusive outdoor recreation in South East Queensland - Mathew Townsend, Nature Freedom

Outdoor recreation has been a welcome respite for many, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, however more needs to be done to make these spaces inclusive. Mathew Townsend founded Nature Freedom in 2017, a social enterprise that gives people from all walks of life and all abilities the opportunity to connect with nature and each other. This was motivated by Mathew's own lived experience of living with autism and hearing impairment, and being often excluded from environmental groups and...


Empowering Australian seniors through technology - Nan Bosler AM, ASCCA

Australian Seniors are learning to use technology in safe and conducive environments through the help of community run computer clubs, supported by Australian Seniors Computer Club Association. Nan Bosler AM is the founder of this peak body that was set up in 1998. In this episode, Nan talks about the history of ASCCA, how it helps seniors, the best way to support seniors in their technology journey, and how the NBN delivered her grandsons to her. Nan Bosler AM is an Australian community...


Economic equity and inclusive leadership for women- Sahera Sumar, Worldwide Sheroes

Sahera Sumar is the Founder and Director of Worldwide Sheroes, a social enterprise that brings together a community of mentors and leaders to foster the next generation of female leaders. Sahera is a facilitator, coach, mentor, and keynote speaker. She has worked with leaders in over 25 countries in World Bank, WHO, and AKDN international development projects. In this episode, Sahera speaks about the lack of access to women leaders in a number of countries, her own experiences trying to...


Narrowing the digital gap in North Eastern Sri Lanka - Sujan Selven, Upcycled Tech

The North Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka have lower digital literacy levels, compared to the rest of Sri Lanka, and its neighbours. Sujan Selven is the Founder & CEO of Upcycled Tech, a not-for-profit that provides sustainable IT solutions for remote villages in the North Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. A Tamil refugee, Sujan is a social impact entrepreneur and human rights advocate. In this episode, Sujan talks about how Upcycled Tech started, the opportunities created for communities in...


Mental health information for the Tamil community - Poonkulali Govintharajah, Thadam

In 2021, Poonkulali Govintharajah formed Thadam to build mental health literacy within the Sri Lankan Tamil Australian community. Poonkulali Govintharajah is a Sri Lankan Tamil psychologist, a member of the Australian Psychological Society (APS) and holds her Master’s degree in Social Health. Poonkulali has a strong commitment to improving the mental health of our community with a strong focus on child protection and working with families. In this episode, Poonkulali shares discussing...


From social housing to home ownership in Australia - Stephen Woodlands, Head Start Homes

As the waiting lists for social housing grows in Australia, many who are reliant on the system cannot navigate themselves out of it. Stephen Woodlands is the Founder and Managing Director of Head Start Homes, which harnesses innovation and collaboration to reduce homelessness and poverty by providing equal access to home ownership for single mums, First Nations Peoples and other families living in social housing. In this episode, Stephen shares his lived experience growing up in social...


Moving the needle on racism conversations - Gloria Tabi, Everyday Inclusion

Gloria Tabi is an Author and the CEO of Everyday Inclusion. Gloria’s research specialises in Social Analysis on Race, Social Inequalities and Anti-Racism. As a Black African-Australian woman, Gloria brings well-grounded knowledge and experience of the impacts presented in race and gender identities. In this episode, Gloria talks about the critical misunderstandings about racism, the impact on racialised people and about her new book Inclusive Teams & Workplaces: Everyone Wins. What Can We...


Career roadmaps for individuals who face barriers to long-term success - Tinai Colawai, knext Career Design

Tinai Colawai is the Founder & Director of knext Career Design – a social impact company with a mission to enable people of colour achieve long-term career success. Before launching her business in early 2021, she spent over 15 years working across the Pacific, Asia and Australia in HR leadership, strategic and specialist roles. In the first episode of 2022, Tinai talks about the common barriers culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) individuals and people of colour (POC) face when...


Leading community youth - Zahra Bayani, 2021 Young Citizen of the Year, City of Salisbury

Zahra Bayani is has done a lot for her community, since she arrived in Adelaide in 2017. Zahra is currently studying Bachelor of Physiotherapy Honours at University of South Australia and hopes that one day her studies will empower her to work with disadvantaged youth and women to support them in overcoming adversity to reaching their full potential as integral members of the community. In this episode, Zahra talks about how she got involved in volunteering, her political aspirations for...


Building a South Asian sisterhood of artists and creatives - Priyanka Kaur, Mahala

Priyanka Kaur is a visual and resin artist who recently founded Mahala, a social enterprise. Mahala is Australia’s first gift box service that features products from South Asian women, pursuing side hustles, passion projects or small businesses. A percentage of Mahala's profits goes to the Australian South Asian Centre, a not for profit organisation. In this episode, Priyanka talks about why she started Mahala, the underrepresentation of South Asian creatives and artists here in Australia,...


A community for people who are experiencing homelessness and marginalisation - Ryan Naoum, Rough Edges

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 a 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...


Supporting financial abuse survivors in Australia -Tasnia Alam, ARISE Foundation

The Commonwealth Bank currently estimate that 16% of women will experience financial abuse in Australia during their lifetime. 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...


Serving the Brisbane Community - Ansary Muhammed, Merciful Servants

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...


Emerging Women Leaders in Australia - Charishma Kaliyanda, Liverpool City Councillor

A growing number of women leaders are emerging in Australia. Charishma Kaliyanda was elected to the Liverpool City Council in 2016. Charishma was born in Bangalore, India, and moved to Liverpool 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 leaders of colour need to clear for elected office in Australia, how the recent strict lockdowns...


Food and community in the City of Casey - Olivia, Acciarito, COOK4CALD

COOK4CALD started providing food to people in the City of Casey community when the pandemic hit in 2020. 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...


Raising Awareness of Chronic Illness and Disability - Tessa Deak

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...


Intentional Storytelling - Paige Krystal Wilcox

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...