A year ago, Sophie Gray was a very successful fitness influencer – her Instagram account @wayofgray was a plethora of selfies, abs and workouts which inspired many in the pursuit of the perfect body. Yet, in spite of all the praise and hundreds of thousands of followers, she felt she was not being honest with herself in promoting the unreachable idea of perfection. After a nervous breakdown, she decided to explore a new path – one that leads to self-acceptance. Today, Sophie advocates self-acceptance and aims to foster women empowerment on social media. In this interview, she talks about her inspirations, plans for the future and the responsibility of being a role model for the next generations.

Sophie Gray

Why did you decide to advocate self-love and acceptance?

We live in a world where we are at war internally. We have become so disconnected from ourselves and I experienced this personally. For me, I decided to advocate self-love and acceptance because I didn’t have any other choice. I needed it in my own world, and through my inner work, it flowed over to my professional work through my channels.

Was there a moment when you felt you could do something different from other health and fitness influencers?

I had a panic attack on an airplane that had me step back and evaluate my personal life. From there, I connected with how I truly felt and realized I didn’t want to show up through my accounts in the ways that I had been. From there I decided to completely step away from fitness and have refocused on inspiring others to connect with themselves through introspection.

How important is it for you to empower girls and women?

I struggled with self-harm in my youth, and this was before social media really took off. I couldn’t imagine going through what I went through with the added pressures brought on by social media. I actually am establishing a nonprofit that works with youth in school creating space for them to show up and dive into their relationship with themselves.

I believe women have such an important role in our society. Often, we are the ones who raise the next generations and when we have a mother who is strong, confident and feels at home within herself, we are able to teach the younger generations to feel the same.

This isn’t to say all women are going to have children. And regardless of whether they are or not, they are, in some way, a role model to those growing up. I know for myself personally, I want my self-acceptance to inspire others that they’re deserving of their own acceptance.

Sophie now advocates for self-acceptance

Tell us about the self-love challenge – when and why did you come up with the idea and what does it consist of?

I hosted a challenge from Jan 1st to 5th 2018. It was about having my followers commit to coming home to themselves. There is a stillness that exists within all of us – this stillness, rooted in love, also exists within everyone. I want those who follow me to make 2018 the year they come home to themselves by diving through what they go through. This involves sitting with themselves, working through their experiences and feeling at peace with themselves. This challenge was a fun way to start the new year committing to coming home to yourself.

What are your goals for 2018?

In 2018, I am launching an app that will help men and women start conversations with themselves that will lead to greater self-awareness, emotional resilience and help develop a better love and appreciation for yourself and others. This will be launching in April.

I also plan to have my new name changed account, @sophiegray (formly @wayofgray), focus more on my passion for writing – while focusing on encouraging others to take time to turn within.

Changemakers is an Horyou initiative which aims to highlight remarkable people & projects related to the Sustainable Development Goals. In this article, we shed a light over #SDG5 / Gender Equality.

The Light Challenge


Support the SDGs!
Take the #HoryouLightChallenge

This world is the one thing we all have in common! By working together, we can achieve great good things for the future of humanity. Change for social good, however, is an everyday endeavor and it starts with you and us to inspire others around us.

To put this idea into practice, Horyou has decided to set up the #HoryouLightChallenge for all changemakers, in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals!

As a proponent of the SDGs, our Horyou community believes in the power of positivity and is constantly spreading positive actions and ideas worldwide; and by ensuring international cooperation and inclu- sion, it directly promotes SDG#17.

Be a part of this global partnership and take our #HoryouLightChallenge. All you have to do is choose one SDG, support it with a positive action (see examples below), and share it on Horyou.

Together, we can show the world that every expression of positivity, no matter how big or small, has a great positive impact. Each one of us, in our own way, can be a light within our own community and be- yond. Share your light with the ones around you and the SDGs will be met.

To take the challenge and have a chance to win an all inclusive trip to Singapore and participate in SIGEF18 (or one of our many other prizes*), we invite you to use your creativity and share your social good actions with Horyou.

#HoryouLightChallenge Instructions

  • Create an account on
  • Create your Horyou Light Challenge post (photo, video or text) on the platform with the one SDG that you have selected among the 17 SDG examples. You can also create your own positive challenge and post it!
  • Share your Horyou post via Twitter, Facebook or any other Social Media with the #HoryouLightChallenge hashtag, along with the hashtag of the SDG that you have supported (ex: #SDG7)
  • Invite your friends to light (watch how lights work here) your post on Horyou
  • Try to get the largest number of lights and win a trip to SIGEF18 Singapore!

17 SDGs challenge examples

Make a contribution to a charity of your choice or directly to a person in need
Prepare your favorite dish for someone who can’t afford to have it
Share a healthy food recipe
Educate / share your educational sources on a topic you’re passionate about
Share an inspiring speech from someone defending gender equality
Share the ways in which you can reduce water waste in your community
Tell us about your favorite source of renewable energy and how it supports sustainable development
Share with us how your job or dream job contributes to sustainable economic growth
Tell us which innovative idea you would invest in
Tell us about the most inspiring action you’ve done to help others
Use your bike or public transport to go to work
Share tips on package free/ second hand/ fair trade and ethic shopping
Sort out your waste for recycling
Pick up the trash on your favorite beach/ lake/ river
Plant a tree
Tell us about your favorite figure promoting peace and justice and post one of his/her inspiring quotes
Share your challenge on the Horyou platform and light your favorite posts

Are you up to the challenge? Go ahead, pick your SDG, engage your friends and be a special guest on the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum in Singapore.

Take the challenge!
Be the change, be Horyou


All Inclusive (flight + hotel) 3 days Trip to Singapore and a free ticket to participate in the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum (SIGEF 2018) + T-shirt and Bag
A free ticket to participate in the SIGEF 2018 +100 Spotlights + Ambassador opportunity + T-shirt and Bag
…30 Horyou Bags and T-shirts for the 30 remaining most lighted posts
The challenge will be running until June 18th 2018


Um projeto social que surgiu de uma das instituições de ensino executivo mais prestigiadas do Brasil, o Gestão para Entidades da Sociedade Civil (GESC) treina ONGs e outras organizações em técnicas de gestão e negócios. Fundada pela Associação dos Alunos e Ex-Alunos da FIA (AMBA-FIA), a iniciativa fundamenta sua visão nas crenças de que é preciso fortalecer a sociedade civil, e que isso só se faria com um terceiro setor forte; na qualidade de gestão das organizações sociais e no estímulo a empresários para se tornarem empreendedores sociais, contribuindo na construção de uma sociedade inclusiva. Entrevistamos o diretor executivo do Instituto Gesc, Alfredo Santos Júnior.

Aula inaugural para organizações

Quando e como surgiu o projeto Gesc?

Em 1994, um grupo de alunos do primeiro curso de MBA em gestão da Fundação Instituto de Administração, ligadas à Universidade de S. Paulo, fundou uma Associação com o objetivo de auxiliar Organizações da Sociedade Civil quanto ao fortalecimento de sua gestão. Em 1997, a AMBA-FIA criou o programa GESC – Gestão para Entidades da Sociedade Civil, voltado a apoiar as instituições do terceiro setor em sua busca por maior eficácia na gestão, condição básica para o seu desenvolvimento.

Desde então, foram realizadas 72 edições do GESC, que envolveram mais de 800 organizações, capacitaram cerca de 1.400 gestores sociais, contando com o trabalho de aproximadamente 1.150 executivos voluntários. O êxito do programa levou a Associação a criar, em 2004, o Instituto GESC, voltado para coordenar, aplicar e dar escala ao programa.

Quais eram os principais desafios enfrentados pelas organizações apoiadas e como os executivos puderam aplicar sua expertise para solucioná-los?

Era uma época em que o Brasil estava retomando sua normalidade institucional democrática e o que conhecemos como Terceiro Setor, começava a viver um período de grande expansão. A necessidade de ajudar as organizações que já existiam e as que estavam sendo criadas a fortalecer suas práticas de gestão e governança era muito grande.

Os executivos – então alunos e ex-alunos da FIA – puderam se engajar em trabalho voluntário qualificado, ajudando estas organizações com o conhecimento e a experiência adquiridos no dia a dia da gestão empresarial.

Em 20 anos de projetos, quais foram as evoluções observadas na profissionalização do terceiro setor no Brasil?

As organizações da sociedade civil – que conhecemos como o “Terceiro Setor” – evoluíram muito nestes 20 anos, principalmente no que diz respeito a profissionalização de seus quadros de pessoal e da adoção de métodos e práticas de sucesso, trazidas do mundo empresarial.

Há visíveis progressos quanto à gestão financeira, gestão de pessoas, captação de recursos e adequação à legislação. Há, ainda, muitos desafios a serem vencidos, mas o progresso observado é inegável e o GESC, como programa pioneiro e com metodologia de trabalho consolidada, tem grande importância neste processo.

Alfredo Santos, diretor executivo do Igesc

Há casos de sucesso que gostariam de mencionar?

Recentemente, na comemoração dos 20 anos do GESC, recebemos dois representantes de organizações que deram seus depoimentos sobre a importância do GESC em suas trajetórias: “Doutores da Alegria”, que participou do primeiro GESC e “Tenda da Solidariedade”, que participou de uma das mais recentes edições do programa. Ambos apontaram o GESC como um divisor de águas na vida das suas organizações.

Mas, existem inúmeros outros casos, como o GOAS – Grupo de Orientação e Assistência à Saúde, organização de médio porte, na Grande S. Paulo e a Liga Solidária, entidade de grande porte que se tornou parceira do GESC.

Horyou é a rede social para o bem social. De que forma a internet e as redes sociais são significativas para o projeto?

As redes sociais têm um papel importantíssimo a desempenhar para o fortalecimento da sociedade civil. Elas têm forte potencial para mobilização e articulação de pessoas em favor de causas de interesse comum, permitem a ampliação do trabalho em rede, que pode favorecer a troca de experiências, recursos, conhecimentos, bem como a atuação conjunta em projetos de maior porte, que exijam competências diversificadas.

Elas também ajudam a dar escala a iniciativas locais bem-sucedidas, que podem vir a ser replicadas em outros contextos, e podem favorecer a integração e articulação de organizações em escala global, um fator essencial para a construção da cidadania planetária.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável, e é organizadora do SIGEF, o Fórum de Inovação Social e Ética Global. Seja a mudança, seja Horyou!

The United Nations Development Program, in partnership with “MEGA Silk Way”, Künde, “Public association of disabled people “Bakyt” and the Medical Center of Mental Health, have organized a crowdfunding campaign to open a coffee shop in Astana that promotes the integration of people with special needs. The coffee shop is Künde Café, an inclusive socially responsible café in Astana, Kazakhstan.

Students of Nazarbayev University promote events to raise funds and awareness to the project
Students of Nazarbayev University promote events to raise funds and awareness to the project

Künde Café is an innovative social entrepreneurship projects that offers work opportunities to people with mental or special development needs, in order to better integrate them in society.

The project started one year ago in collaboration with the Astana Medical Center of Mental Health, providing opportunities to people with special needs who are part of the Medical Industrial Workshops. One of the partners is Künde, a network comprised of 102 workshop personnel, their parents and friends, as well as psychologists and psychiatrists, along with students of Nazarbayev University and catering professionals.

Besides raising funds for the project, the campaign aims to increase awareness of the issues that people with mental and development needs face everyday. A concert was held within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose core message is to ‘Leave No One Behind’ and thus help provide good health and well-being, decent work and economic growth, and reduce inequalities, wherever they are needed.

Promotion piece about the café
Promotion piece about the café

“When given an opportunity, people with special needs can become fully included into the society, and bring in transformative ideas, great knowledge and a wealth of experience. UNDP has been working to create and promote such opportunities for people with special needs for a long time and in over 170 countries around the world“, stated UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Norimasa Shimomura.

“My aim is to work in the social café, get on my feet, make money, and improve my quality of life. I want to achieve all of that by myself. I would like to create a family. My goal is to achieve all of that and not give up,” declared Kuanysh Nogaibayev, one of the future workers at Künde Café.

To date, approximately 600,000 people with special mental needs live in Kazakhstan. Less than 3% of those people have jobs. When launched, Künde Café will give them an opportunity to provide for themselves and their families, to socialize, and to successfully integrate into society.

If you would like to support this campaign, become a part of Künde’s success story, and be a donor, go to this link.

News from Astana is a content project by Horyou, the social network for social good and host of SIGEF 2017, the Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum. The 4th edition of SIGEF will take place in Astana, Kazakhstan, from 5-7 September.

Contar histórias emocionantes para promover mudanças positivas na sociedade. Esse é o propósito do publicitário Marco Iarussi, que promove campanhas digitais na internet com o objetivo de arrecadar fundos para projetos de cunho social e humanitário. Fundador do projeto “Curta a Ideia – Vídeos que Mobilizam”, Marco é um membro ativo da nossa plataforma e um dos concorrentes ao SIGEF Project Awards. Ele falou com o nosso blog sobre suas conquistas, planos para o futuro e sobre a proposta de fazer “marketing pelo bem”.

Curta a Ideia apresentando o seu projeto no SIGEF
Curta a Ideia apresentando o seu projeto no SIGEF

1. Qual é a história do Curta a Ideia?

Sou publicitário e conheci a jornalista Tati Vadiletti quando trabalhávamos em um programa de televisão, na cidade de São Paulo. Apesar de sermos apaixonados pela comunicação e o audiovisual, sentíamos que aquele trabalho não despertava uma transformação na vida das pessoas. Nós acreditamos que a comunicação é uma ferramenta poderosa para transformar realidades, por isso fomos em busca do nosso sonho: contar histórias através de vídeos que mobilizam.

Foi por isso que em 2011 surgiu o ‘Curta a Ideia’ com a proposta de ser um canal de vídeos na internet que promove iniciativas e profissionais que oferecem o seu talento para transformar realidades. Nossa intenção sempre foi registrar histórias de pessoas que conectadas com seu coração, que serviam ao próximo ou defendiam uma causa. Por conta disso, o trabalho teve uma grande aceitação com organizações do terceiro setor; foi então que encontramos o nosso propósito: colocar nossa expertise com comunicação e audiovisual a serviço de grande causas, impulsionando iniciativas na internet com um video envolvente, que convida a uma transformação. É isso que sempre fizemos: vídeos que mobilizam! Nosso slogan é o que melhor nos define: “luz, câmera e coração”!

2. Um trabalho paralelo que você desenvolve são as campanhas de marketing digital para pessoas carentes. O que motivou a criação desse projeto?

Nosso propósito sempre foi usar a comunicação para promover o bem e nós acreditamos no poder da internet para gerar bondade. Embora o propósito das redes sociais seja conectar pessoas, o ambiente tecnológico muitas vezes distancia o homem das relações humanas. Nossa intenção com as campanhas sociais é criar a oportunidade para quebrar esse gelo, gerar conexões, oferecer ao usuário das redes a chance de praticar a empatia e, quem sabe, transformar uma vida.

3. Uma das campanhas mais bem-sucedidas que você desenvolveu foi para uma paciente que necessitava de células-tronco. Como você conheceu a história da Gigi e o que te mobilizou a trabalhar nessa campanha voluntariamente?

A campanha da Gigi foi extraordinária. Um caso que veio para comprovar a nossa missão de vida. Conhecemos a Gigi no Centro Espiritual do João De Deus, um médium brasileiro conhecido internacionalmente. Ela estava lá em busca da cura e o caso dela nos chamou muita atenção, por isso sabíamos que as pessoas na internet poderiam se engajar naquela causa. O curioso é que ela estava há muito tempo pedindo ajuda de porta em porta e sua presença na internet era quase inexistente, por isso havia muita dificuldade na arrecadação e o valor de 30 mil dólares era um objetivo quase impossível, mas por obra do acaso, ela encontrou justamente um casal que trabalha com marketing digital para causas sociais. Foi então que começou uma linda história de amor, boas ações e generosidade. Em poucos dias a campanha rodou o mundo e a Gigi recebeu doações do Japão, Finlândia, Austrália, Suiça, entre outros países. Em vinte dias, a campanha teve que ser finalizada, pois já tinha atingido múltiplas vezes o valor necessário, o que possibilitou o pagamento do mesmo tratamento para outras duas pessoas. Essa ação se tornou a maior campanha solidária do Brasil em 2016. Foi muito emocionante receber mensagens de pessoas nos agradecendo por ter dado a elas oportunidade de ajudar o próximo.

Marco Iarussi em uma das gravações para o Curta a Ideia
Marco Iarussi em uma das gravações para o Curta a Ideia

4. Conte quais foram os principais destaques do ano de 2016 e seus planos para 2017.

Além da campanha da Gigi, promovemos também outras três ações, sendo que a do Lucas José pode ser considerada a segunda maior campanha solidária do ano. Atualmente estamos com a campanha ‘Ame a Fernanda’, uma brasileira de 34 anos que foi aceita em pesquisas para a cura da AME – Atrofia Muscular Espinhal nos Estados Unidos. Ela tem grandes chances de sair da cadeira de rodas e voltar a andar, embora o tratamento seja gratuito ela precisa de fundos para custear sua permanência por um ano e meio no país. Estamos empenhados em conseguir mobilizar pessoas que apoiem essa causa, mas é uma corrida contra o tempo, pois ela tem somente até o mês de janeiro para entrar no programa de pesquisas. Para 2017 queremos ampliar a nossa atuação com o marketing pelo bem. Sabemos que muitas pessoas precisam de uma chance para transformar sua vida e que, por outro lado, muitas outras podem praticar a generosidade e olhar para o próximo.

5. Quais são os seus principais desafios e o que te motiva a superá-los?

Nosso maior desafio é nos tornarmos um canal de confiança, onde as pessoas possam realizar doações na certeza de que farão para uma iniciativa transparente, ética e comprometida. Infelizmente, existe uma certa desconfiança com projetos sociais na internet, mas nosso compromisso é com a prestação de contas e transparência das ações, pois devemos estimular a cultura da bondade e da colaboração no ambiente online. Quando as pessoas descobrirem o poder das redes sociais para promover boas ações, elas conseguirão mudar o mundo.

6. Você é um membro ativo de nossa comunidade e, este ano, participou com o seu projeto no SIGEF. Como avalia essa experiência?

Apresentar o nosso projeto no SIGEF2016 foi uma oportunidade de compartilhar com iniciativas globais o nosso propósito de promover o bem na internet. No evento, pessoas do mundo inteiro puderam trocar experiências, aumentar o seu repertório e certamente voltaram com muito mais vontade de fazer acontecer suas melhores intenções. Foi assim com a gente!

7. Qual mensagem você deixaria para a nossa comunidade Horyou?

Dizem que os bons são a maioria e que os querem mudar os mundo são muitos, mas eles estão espalhados por aí… Eu digo que a Horyou é o canal onde essas pessoas se encontram. Sempre que estou na plataforma, me encho de esperança vendo tantas iniciativas incríveis. O que tenho a dizer aos membros da comunidade é que o amor nos conecta e que eu acredito que conseguiremos mudar esse planeta, através deste amor.

Entrevista: Vívian Soares

Horyou team was recently invited to watch Freenet, a documentary about the lack of Internet access in many parts of the world and its consequences for democracy, competitiveness and social rights. After the screening, the opinions within the team on the issue of free Internet were so divided that they could not be decided between, which caused us to collectively interview the director of Freenet, Pedro Ekman, whose answers, candid as they were, are challenging meat for thought!

Freenet exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil
Freenet exhibition in São Paulo, Brazil

1. Why did you decide to make a movie about free Internet?

The film is a project of four civil society organizations – Intervozes, Idec, IRS-Rio and Instituto Nupef – working on the defence of civil rights on the Internet. These organizations saw the necessity of producing relevant content that aims to explain to a non expert audience the main recent issues that are under discussion regarding the threats to free Internet and to human rights.

2. The documentary is about how the access to Internet can address inequality and bring competitiveness to people, communities and regions. What has prevented universal access to internet so far?

The market. The commercial interests of corporations that control the access infrastructure is incompatible with the public interest in the universalization of a key service regardless of economic condition. In the places where it came to be considered an essential service to exercise citizenship under secured access, the Internet ceased to be a luxury item to become a social development tool.

3. By controlling Internet access, do governments and corporations control our minds?

By massively monitoring the society and having the possibility to analyze the behavior of people on the network, governments have the ability to draw a true map of our minds. This creates a very bad precedent for the democratic process as we know it, as it may punish dissidents and anticipate political movements. The storage and analysis of all searches that we do on the Internet reveal thoughts that we dare to share with someone else. If governments can analyze that, they may know how we usually think.

4. Does access to the Internet free people?

The Internet can provide access to culture, information and social rights that have been historically denied to populations around the world. It can transform an audience of spectators and consumers into a group that produces and disseminates content. The Internet can make people feel as part of something and not mere spectators by connecting them with others; it can give visibility to groups that were always invisible to the eyes of an extremely concentrated and partial society.

One of the scenes: at the amazon river to show small ISPs connecting isolated communities
One of the scenes: at the amazon river to show small ISPs connecting isolated communities

5. The subject of the democratisation of the Internet is a very interesting but also controversial issue. Have you considered the dark side of the Internet while researching for the movie? What have you found? 

Yes, the same tool capable of amplifying the freedom of expression is also able to put the whole society on oppressive surveillance. The Internet will not necessarily create a more democratic society; we run the risk of having just the opposite. The promise that we can all freely communicate has become a great illusion, either controlled by algorithms that select who gets more visibility and who stays in the shade, or surveillance systems to shy away freedom of expression and advance towards a control society.

6. What is your opinion about the argument that the propagation of the Internet might be the new colonization?

The Internet is a tool that is being fought over by various sectors of society and reflects the correlation of forces in it. No doubt the technological frontier has been increasingly key to the advancement of world powers. The United States and China compete for every centimeter of router market, because they want the information to flow within a technology that they can control. To build technological systems that no one is able to control and that gives maximum transparency to the functioning of the state with total privacy for citizens is the great challenge we are facing today. It is a long and complex battle.

7. A few disturbing scenes in the documentary show slums in Brazil that lack access to some basic needs but have a very informal Internet service. Why should the Internet be a priority for people who live in remote areas where the basic living necessities are still problematic?

Scene of the film showing difference of internet speed between two neighbourhoods
Scene of the film showing difference of internet speed between two neighbourhoods

The idea that the Internet is something that should come after the basic rights is natural only for the middle class and the rich, because they already have met their basic rights and understand the Internet as something nonessential, used to entertainment or to facilitate the work. The poorer populations quickly realized that the Internet is not a luxury item that should come after sanitation. The Internet is a gateway to other rights, a tool that can generate organization and mobilization for the conquest of rights and therefore the poorer populations do not stay idly waiting for their rights be met in a priority queue; it will get the tools they need to transform their reality.

8. Recently, India refused Zuckerberg’s offer of a free Internet infrastructure for fear of a hidden scam. Do you think there is a big corporation movement which supports free Internet in order to get more users/consumers/data?

The Facebook group is not really concerned with providing access to an unlimited network with its huge variety of applications; they are interested in reaching consumers they failed to reach by providing them preferably exclusively with their applications. This serves the interests of corporate shareholders but creates fences and walls around them. We cannot let one or a few corporations decide about what we can or cannot access; we can’t create an unlimited Internet for the elite and a curtailed Internet for the poor. The Internet has to be a great free and unlimited network.

9. Can the Internet really ‘connect’ people around the world? If you go through its content there are often more negative than positive communication. Will it therefore be beneficial to expose to people who live in a relatively closed and traditional environment to such a connection?

I think the Internet can create connections that were impossible before, give visibility to things that were not visible before and amplify voices that could not be heard. And this movement is for good and for evil. The same way the global community can come together to help refugees or victims of natural disasters, so could hatred find an impulse. The Internet can help educate, but it will never replace an in-person educational process; likewise, social networking friends are not as interesting as friends who meet each other. The important thing is to understand that the Internet will not create or finish problems by itself, it is a tool that amplifies and accelerates a range of social relations which build the society we have and will have. The rules governing the way we connect are critical to our future social design. These rules are in contention at the moment all around the world. We must decide what we want to do with this tool and in which society we want to be.

Freenet was launched last month in Brazil and is distributed through a collaborative model. For a free access to the documentary, contact the producers.

Questions by Cintia Pino, Emmanuel Doffou, Joanna Kozik, Vivian Soares and Yue Wang.

More Stories

The city of Singapore hosts one of the most important global Fintech events, while giving full support to its startups and community of entrepreneurs. Funding,...