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.

Grupo Alfazendo
Grupo Alfazendo

Chaque jour, nous découvrons les magnifiques actions de nos Membres, Personnalités et Organisations sur la plateforme Horyou. Ils sont toujours prêts à Agir ! Cette semaine, nous mettons en lumière le travail et les actions de remarquables organisations au Brésil, en France et au Maroc.

Organização : Grupo Alfazendo Localização: Brasil

Grupo Alfazendo é uma organização educativa e de promoção social. Fundada em 14 abril de 1998, por educadores/moradores e ex-moradores que atuam no movimento social em Cidade de Deus/RJ. O Grupo Alfazendo crio a Ação Comunitária na cidade de Deus, perspectiva da sustentabilidade é um exercício instigante, que possibilita tecer novos olhares e compreendo educação socioambiental como aquela que forma sujeitos comprometidos com a valorização da vida, em todas as suas formas, que respeitam a si mesmos, aos outros e ao mundo. Sujeitos cujas práticas diárias são intencionais, impregnadas de sentido.Para saber mais clique aqui.

Por Edriana Oliveira Major

Grupo Alfazendo
L’association J’aime Ma Planète

Organisation : Association J’aime Ma Planète Lieu : Suisse

Créée en 2006, l’association J’aime Ma Planète a pour objectif la protection de l’environnement.Elle cherche à développer une prise de conscience collective sur l’importance de protéger notre planète et ses habitants et organise régulièrement des campagnes de sensibilisation et d’action auprès des écoles. Elle est intervenue dernièrement dans l’école secondaire la Passerelle à Genève. Les élèves ont alors eu la chance de découvrir l’exposition Biodiversité du photographe Yann-Arthus Bertrand et ont pu participer à des ateliers de classification des organismes vivants. Découvrez cette action ici.

Par Laurie Martin

L’association Essaouira Mogador

Organisation : Association Essaouira Mogador Lieu: Maroc

L’association Essaouira Mogador agit depuis plus de 22 ans pour le développement et la promotion de la ville et région d’Essaouira au Maroc. Les membres de l’association oeuvrent sans cesse pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine social économique ainsi qu’au renforcement du tissu socio-économique mais ses objectifs sont bien plus variés. De nombreuses activités sont organisées pour adultes et enfants de la région ( cours de langue, projections) et le quartier général de l’association est un véritable espace dédié à l’art et la culture. Un autre exemple illustrant la diversité de ses actions : l’association a lancé il y a peu une grande campagne médico-sociale consacrée à la chirurgie de la cataracte. Découvrez cette action ici

Par Laurie Martin


Rachel Hutchisson is a corporate responsibility & philanthropy guru. 24 years at Blackbaud led her to grow a passion and true talent for developing and implementing strategic philanthropy and corporate social responsibility in her company. Then she took all that knowledge and experience to create “Business doing Good”, a website she started in order to give advice to businesses that wanted to build a give back function. Rachel believes that “good is for everyone” and that the public discourse and mindsets are being changed thanks to the growth of social good campaigns, initiatives and talks by leaders in many industries. Horyou got to ask her key questions about her career, growing a sustainable business culture and how she sees the future.

Have you always wanted to be an advocate for Corporate Citizenship & Philanthropy? How did it come about?

When I joined the workforce with a master’s degree in journalism, I thought I was headed to a career in communications, perhaps for a college or a healthcare center (which is interesting because these are some of the kinds of organizations my company serves). I ended up meeting some interesting people from Blackbaud, a then 130-person technology company providing software to nonprofit organizations, and was offered a job which I thought would be an interesting challenge for a few years. Over the past 24 years, the company has grown tremendously, and I with it, taking on a series of newly formed roles and ultimately formally establishing our strategic philanthropy and corporate social responsibility function. I describe my role as working at the intersection of nonprofits and corporate good, which is especially meaningful for a company where we power the business of philanthropy through the solutions we offer. I walked in the door so many years ago not realizing the incredible power and reach of the philanthropic sector. Now, I look back realizing that my parents raised me to be a part of this world of social good, modeling volunteerism and compassion through their own work in the community, work that I didn’t realize could lead to a profession. Now, my life and my work are intertwined.

How did the idea for Business doing good come about and what is its purpose?

Business Doing Good, the website I launched on #GivingTuesday 2013 to offer advice to small businesses interested in building a give back function into their firms, was born out of my own experiences. When I took on the challenge of building the philanthropy and corporate social responsibility function at Blackbaud, I looked to the broader business world to learn the best practices. However, the examples and resources I found were mainly for very large corporates with operations around the world. So I pieced together my own plans and learned along the way. With a really good operation now in place, I thought it was important to give back by sharing insights and experience, making it easier for those who followed. It’s also important to know that I have a fundamental belief that “good is for everyone,” (individuals, nonprofits, government, small businesses or corporates). So I was seeking, by making the advice on the site clear and easy to understand, to empower anyone in business who wanted to give back.

What are your best/favorite success stories from creating and building give back programs?

My favorite success stories over the years are always about people, whether they are our employees who are engaging in the community or the people we are serving through our philanthropy. I am hugely proud of Camp Blackbaud, a STEM-focused camp where staff from our Products team introduce disadvantaged middle school kids to programming and careers in tech. They walk in the door thinking technology is something unreachable to them and leave saying they’ll be back to work for us after they graduate from college. That’s the goal, to help Charleston Promise Neighborhood (our nonprofit partner) open these kids’ eyes to education and the role it can play in changing their lives. The kids are great, smart, lively and so enthusiastic. Our people love leading the camp, especially how they can share their skills (programmers, usability designers, quality assurance, etc., not being skills nonprofits typically ask for in volunteers).

Camp Blackbaud
]7 Camp Blackbaud

What in your opinion are the three building blocks for a company to establish solid corporate citizenship and philanthropic practice?

1) Vocal CEO Support – Having vocal support from the very top of the company is essential to building a solid corporate social responsibility practice. There is absolutely nothing that compares to a CEO’s ability to make citizenship, service and giving a priority from a corporate level, across the management team and with individual employees. Your CEO needs to be your strongest advocate and be willing to open doors or ensure you are involved in the conversations where your work can truly make a difference.

2) Partnerships with key leaders in the company – corporate social responsibility teams are traditionally small but span across entire operations and locations. For this reason, you will need strong partnerships with people who understand how your collective work will deepen their success. Key leaders should include those leading talent acquisition, HR, culture, corporate marketing, business units or company sites. Working together to determine how what you can offer will help them succeed is at the heart of corporate social responsibility.

3) Engaging employees as advocates and a key audience – corporate social responsibility is important inside and outside the company, and employees are both key agents of telling the story and a key audience to engage. Design your program to be one that helps bring good people to the company who want to engage and who, by engaging, are more likely to stay and thrive, telling their own stories. Make your giving and service a differentiator that makes you an employer of choice, one your people are proud to speak about.

We live in a culture of consumerism as opposed to a giving back culture, how do we slowly change that mindset? Is it really possible to combine the two?


Yes, I not only believe but see every day at Blackbaud that it is possible to combine a culture of doing good with doing well. We can change those with a purely consumer mindset by what we do as people, how we give back and the priorities we set, and how we lead the organizations where we pursue our careers. Also, there are many positive messages in the world about how to advance good. I like to say that my kids are hearing from their president, their priest, their teachers and their parents that they should give back, and these messages are sinking in. The number of degrees available in nonprofit management, philanthropy and social innovation are a sign of this positive shift, as is the growing understanding that you can bring socially minded philosophies into the business world.

Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? Any ideals?

In five to ten years, I see myself working in the middle of a cause and an organization that I’m proud to champion and feel driven to help succeed. There is so much more to do, and the idea of how social good can help drive positive change brings much promise.

You joined Horyou, what does our mantra Dream, Act and Inspire mean to you personally and professionally?

I never dared to dream that I would end up with such a wonderful, fulfilling career focused on good. But now that I am here and looking at how else I can add value, I see this mantra as a responsibility, a charge to make sure I do dream, I continue to act, and I always take the time to inspire. Finally, I would say that it reminds me of my personal commitment to mentor as many women in my community as I can. There are a few people who helped me immeasurably on my own journey, and I strongly believe it is my duty to pay that forward.

By Amma Aburam

El equipo Lum k'inal en un día de actividades 750

Desde enero de 2015, esta organización mexicana forma parte de la iniciativa Horyou. En esta ocasión tuvimos el placer de platicar con el equipo de Sociedad y Naturaleza Lum K’inal en relación a su labor en los canales de Xochimilco, a las afueras de la Ciudad de México. A continuación les compartimos parte de su testimonio en el ejercicio de proliferar su visión a favor de una cultura donde exista un equilibrio entre el ser humano y su relación con el entorno.

1) ¿Pueden por favor presentarse, ¿Cuál es su papel dentro de la Asociación?

Somos Yadira Blanco, Claudia Medina y Rita García, tres biólogas de profesión y cofundadoras de la organización. Por su parte Yadira es responsable de la Red de Productores, en la cual mantiene el contacto directo con los consumidores, productores y transformadores; Claudia es responsable de vinculaciones y sinergias de la organización, así como la producción agroecológica en la zona chinampera dentro del área natural protegida de Xochimilco a las afueras de la ciudad de México; paralelamente Rita coordina el área de difusión, lleva también la administración contable e impulsa nuevas alianzas a favor de nuestra causa.

2) ¿Cómo empezó la asociación y por qué?

Lum k’inal inicia en 2013 con la intención de coparticipar en el cambio social para la mejora de las relaciones entre el humano y el medio ambiente. Esto se está logrando orgánicamente mediante procesos participativos que aportan desde las experiencias y los saberes de cada individuo. A lo largo de los años cada una de las personas que ha trabajado con nosotras, retroalimenta y brinda valor agregado a este proyecto.

El equipo Lum k'inal en un día de actividades
El equipo Lum k’inal en un día de actividades

3) ¿Cuáles son sus mayores retos?

En nuestro caminar hemos tenido diversos retos. Por ejemplo, el reconocer que el funcionamiento de una organización es complejo, pues requiere del desarrollo de áreas que en ocasiones son totalmente ajenas a nuestra profesión y de las cuales no siempre tenemos facilidades para obtener las herramientas adecuadas. Otro reto es la armonización en el trabajo colectivo, pues a pesar de que como grupo tenemos plena convicción en nuestro trabajo, en la práctica llega a ser complicado generar mecanismos que logren una dinámica de cooperación y diversidad de pensamientos hacia un bien común. Creemos por ejemplo que el respeto a la naturaleza desde luego debe ser reconsiderado dentro del concepto social de tolerancia.

Equipo_de_Lumk'inal_en_talleres 4) ¿Cuáles son sus mayores logros?

A nivel organizativo, hemos generado una plataforma propia que responde a nuestros objetivos y formas de trabajo, bajo la cual hemos desarrollado y aprendido técnicas prácticas para ejecutar mejor nuestras tareas. En Lum K´inal, hoy nosotras nos reconocemos como mujeres jóvenes, promotoras y provocadoras de un proceso de cambio y hemos logrado en este sentido, la inserción a un espacio físico complejo, dinámico y único que evidentemente se encuentra amenazado por la contaminación humana. Como grupo hemos ido generado confianza con la comunidad y tales acciones nos han permitido por ejemplo acceder a productos libres de agroquímicos, facilitar un comercio con pagos justos, desarrollar un modelo educativo y de trabajo que fomenta por ejemplo el autoconsumo y la ecología.

5) ¿Dónde ve usted a la asociación en 5 a 10 años?

Vemos una cooperativa con bases organizacionales fuertes, con una extensa red de vinculaciones y sinergias. Hablando de la Red de Productores, visualizamos una cadena de valor más consolidada e inclusiva, que por ende genera impacto en otras latitudes incluso fuera del ámbito local. Además el modelo de chinampa integral, lo vemos replicándose en otros espacios del área, entre nuestros vecinos, incluso en otras comunidades, produciendo así una nueva cultura, una visión verdaderamente responsable.

6) ¿Qué quiere decir el hecho de Soñar, Inspirar y Actuar?

Tenemos que animarnos a ser emprendedores de acciones que inspiran a las personas que tenemos a un lado. Este despertar es necesario, ya que son nuestras voces resonantes, las que hacen saber a los demás que existen las soluciones para vivir bien. Nuestro trabajo es estimular las relaciones humanas con la naturaleza. A pesar de lo complicado que pueda ser, hemos descubierto que es posible actuar con solidaridad y perder el miedo dándole la bienvenida a una forma diferente de hacer las cosas. Claudia y Yadira rumbo a la chinampa muestra-2 por Kristopher Torra

Grilling La Fête de la Musique, also known as World Music Day, is an annual music festival that takes place all over the world. Its 24th edition took place in Geneva June 19-21 for three days of enjoying great music, international food and meeting friends under the sun. From classical to electronic music, stages were set up all over the city. It is one of the best festivals in Geneva, and the city ensures that the event is held to the highest standard.

The laid-back celebration also offered an opportunity for non-profit organizations to raise funding for their causes. After a call for volunteers from Francisco Etchepareborda, vice president of children’s rights group Niños de Argentina, a pair of Horyou team members stepped up. Initially, the duo signed up for one day, but with the energetic atmosphere and fantastic people, they wound up spending the whole weekend with Niños de Argentina. Other NGO members of the Horyou community were present, such as One Action. Its director, Jan Isler, was working nonstop with his team at a nearby stand. One Action

The festival is a great opportunity for fundraising for the associations, and in the case of Niños de Argentina, it is one of two events that raises funding for its projects. The second is a barbecue for Argentina’s independence day on May 25. The funds are for humanitarian, cultural and community projects with the focus on disadvantaged children. The group supplies food, school supplies and clothes for the children, and promotes Swiss-Argentinean culture. Tomatoes

Thank you to the team of Niños de Argentina for the great experience and making our team members feel like part of the family.

Written by Noof Al-Shammary

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