At abillionveg, we have an amazing community of people from all over the world. As part of the celebration of International Women's Day, we wanted to give a shout out to just a few of the amazing women in our ecosystem that are working hard to do what's right for their body, the animals, and the planet.
Kayla Hill is a powerhouse with a mission to spread the vegan message. She aims to make vegan traveling accessible, easier, and more "normalized". She believes that being vegan while traveling doesn't mean you have to be limited to only salad or fries. While currently in Thailand, her abillionveg profile is bound to invoke feelings of wanderlust in all of us. Kayla's donated over $2,000 to various animal advocacy partners through abillionveg. Kayla's foray into veganism began when, as a kid, she was served her pet lamb and friend, Elmo, for dinner. You can read more about her vegan journey here.
"I can’t change what happened in my childhood, but I can change how I choose my future. I can choose to love and protect animals. I can choose to make the world a better place. I can choose to leave cruelty off my plate. I think Elmo would be proud."
As a first-generation Korean American, Ami grew up in a meat-eating household. When her younger sister Sorah decided to become a vegetarian after seeing a PETA video, Ami initially made fun of her decision. However, she too started questioning meat consumption when she was sixteen and worked at a Korean market selling meat. When Sorah decided to take a gap year from college to pursue plant-based nutrition and turn to veganism, Ami was inspired to take the plunge as well. Read more about Ami, Sorah, and their amazing vegan journey here.
“I have so much more energy now [that I am a vegan] and am so much more athletic. I’m grateful to my sister you know, for quacking in my ear for a decade. It’s been such a prosperous journey.”
A vegan yogi, Aly Rauff, is usually the one with the biggest smile in the room. She was introduced to the vegan lifestyle when her best friend decided to become vegan. As she saw how the vegan diet helped heal some of her friend's serious, chronic ailments, her interest was piqued. As a yoga instructor and a fitness professional, the body's wellbeing is a huge concern for her. She tried a plant-based diet for 3 weeks and was amazed at how she felt. Read more about Aly's vegan journey here.
“You know, because I’m a yoga teacher, and I’m into health and fitness, and I work at a gym, and I’m also vegan, I’m very stereotypical. I fit a profile, and I probably sound pretentious! But it’s part of the yogi lifestyle - you shouldn’t eat meat if you want to practice yoga.”
A vegan activist and feminist from Mexico, Blanka Alfaro has been working for the defense and protection of animal rights for over 15 years. She has dedicated her life to rescuing animals from abusive situations and works to give them a thriving chance at life. She is the co-founder of Asociación Liberum and Santuario Libres al Fin! She is one of the leaders behind initiatives like “Ley Rastros Sin Crueldad" reform in Mexico that seeks to punish cruelty in slaughterhouses.
“I decided to respect all animals without being biased towards ones who are respected in my country. Everyone wants to live, and each one of us, including the animals, have the same ability to feel pain. It is easy to close your eyes and stop seeing, but once you open them, there is no way back."
The Deputy Chief Executive at ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society), Anbarasi, or Anbu as she likes to be called, believes in giving animals a voice. ACRES was founded in the year 2001, with a view of culling the burgeoning illegal wildlife trade in Singapore. In addition to helping animals, Anbu hopes to start conversations around animal cruelty, and how each one of us can do our part to help. Anbu and her team work to rescue and rehabilitate endangered and abandoned wildlife animals. The work is tough but extremely fulfilling for animal lovers like her. She currently lives at ACRES with three lovely rescued mongrels, including Sunshine as pictured above.
A model, ethics consultant, and creative director of "Willow", Emma Hakansson wears many hats. She's been modeling from a young age, but, over the years, as her personal ethical beliefs changed as she became vegan, she no longer felt comfortable in the very industry that she once loved. She felt the need to do something for the industry and thus started Willow. She creates content for kind businesses. She has worked with brands like Dirt Co, Eco Mono, and Animal Liberation Victoria. She is currently working on a film about the wool industry in Australia.
"To me, this day is one to recognize the strength of women who have got us to be where we are today with the rights we have, to look at what else we have left to work on and to celebrate feminity in all its forms."
Susan Klingenberg craved to make a difference in the lives of as many animals as possible. In 2017, she made a bucket list and on that list was saving a life from a livestock auction. This led to her rescuing a day-old calf aptly called Bucket. Bucket became her inspiration and motivation to take the leap to sell her small farm in Maryland and move to Virginia for a bigger farm space. She currently has a full-time job and manages the day-to-day operations and management of her sanctuary. While it is quite a lot to take on, she wouldn't change it for the world. She believes all animals deserve to live a safe, happy, and long life; and that is what Little Buckets Farm Sanctuary has set out to do, giving animals a safe and loving home they all so deserve.
"For all the women out there, just know to never give up on your dreams as it is never too late. It might require huge sacrifices, an incredible amount of work, doing things outside your box, but in the end, anything is possible. Never give up on not only making your dreams come true but also never give up on making a difference in this world. The Little Buckets gang would attest to that, as many of these precious lives might not be here today if I didn't keep believing in my dreams."
Kate Louise Powell
A visual artist and animal rights activist, Kate Louise Powell is a well-known face in the arts community. As she was involved in The Butterfly Project as a teenager, her earlier work features the recurring motif of butterflies, representing hope and recovery. Her more recent work has shifted towards issues of animal rights and veganism. She's a creative powerhouse and is also a contributing artist to various art platforms. Her activism spreads across her life, from using her talents as an illustrator to create thoughtful art about animal agriculture to taking on direct action against hunting.
“Since late 2016, I have focussed on combining my two biggest interests to produce work that is emotive, educational, and deliberately provocative. I aim to use illustration to shed light on specific acts of animal abuse and morally inconsistent human behavior, and to fuel conversations about how we perceive and treat non-human animals.”
Rebecca Cappelli is a public speaker and award-winning filmmaker working to inspire people to become a line of defense for the animals, the planet and vulnerable communities. Her 2018 film, Let us be Heroes, explores the impact of our food and lifestyle choices on our health, our home planet and our values with athletes, digital, food and fashion entrepreneurs, a public speaker and an ocean warrior fighting to protect people, planet and animals. Watch the full film here.
“The vegan social justice movement is 80% female, yet we see mostly men in the spotlight. I’m often the only decision making woman on a shoot. I want to see more women empowered to speak, film, lead businesses to make a difference and one way I do that is by supporting women first, and making sure diversity is represented in my films.”
Chef Miyoko Schinner
Chef Miyoko grew up vegetarian in Tokyo. Her love affair with food started in the 1980s when she became acquainted with fine dining, french cuisine, and gourmet cheeses. She currently runs Miyoko's kitchen, a "Kinder. Greener. Healthier" plant-based dairy alternative. As a celebrated chef, TV personality, author, and vegan food advocate, Chef Miyoko develops unbelievably delicious, gourmet plant-based cheeses using ingredients like oats and beans! Some of the most reviewed (and loved!) dairy alternative products at abillionveg is by Miyoko's, check out her range of products here.
Co-founder of Afterglow, Carmen believes in developing a plant-based eco-system that would displace the current food system. She believes that by doing so, everyone will have access to nutritional food. With Afterglow, she champions the use of pure food to create delicious protein alternatives for the future. In the last six years, the Afterglow team has come up with over 100 different plant-based products and has been able to build a community of people who are passionate about food and health.
Afterglow's Teriyaki 'Meat' Balls won second place in abillionveg 2020 Singapore Top 50 Vegan Dish Awards.
Min Ju used to work as a nutritionist for a pharmaceutical company before starting Avorush. She loves cooking simple, tasty, and healthy food for others. As she saw office-goers rushing to have a bit of breakfast or lunch, she got her big idea to cater to those who are always in a rush. So, with an initial investment from friends, Avorush was born. Taking inspiration from her father's words of wisdom: "Sometimes, it's okay to give more than take", Min Ju gave it all to set up Avorush and run it like she owns it all, despite being a minority shareholder. She believes that Avorush is a reflection of who she is. The journey of setting up a new business in a foreign country was tough, she got lost in Avorush, but ended up finding herself. Now, apart from cooking, she has developed an interest in design and photography. Min Ju is currently the recipe developer, photographer, and graphic designer for Avorush!
"Life is full of choices. Being who you are is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. I am thankful to those who believe me, support my dream and appreciate my effort. To all the women out there, love yourself more. Work on yourself, for yourself, by yourself."
Avorush's Vegan Protein Bowl was amongst the top ten best dishes in abillionveg 2020 Singapore Top 50 Vegan Dish Awards.
What is International Women's Day and why is it celebrated?
On February 28, 1909, the Socialist Party of America, organized a "Women's Day" in New York City. After this in the year 1910, at the International Socialist Woman's Conference, Clara Zetkin, a German revolutionary proposed March 8 to be celebrated as Women's day in the honor of "working women". Initially, it was celebrated only in Socialist and Communist countries, until it was accepted to be a part of mainstream feminist movement in the year 1967. It then started gaining more popularity, and the United Nations began celebrating the day in 1975.
This is the day women get together to reflect and fight for their rights (See 235 Of The Best Signs From Women’s Marches Around The World here). Various businesses get behind the cause by doing everything from honoring the women working with them and even creating campaigns to focus on women's issues. Some of the best women's day campaigns for #internationalwomensday like the Nike's Dream Crazier, Mother Care's #Bodyproudmums, and Paypal's #balanceforbetter helped generate a conversation on issues are important, yet overlooked.
This year's International women's day's theme is #EachforEqual. All of us have ideas and thoughts that shape our lives. This women's day, let us all take some time and think about how can we work towards equality.
abillionveg is a plant and women powered organization with women forming 80% of our workforce. We have so many more women who're doing amazing things in our community, over 60% of abillionveg members are women!
So, this women's day, let us take a few moments to reflect on how we can remain mindful of the impact of diversity and inclusion in our community and strive to ensure that we continue to work to make our community even more inclusive!
We would love to hear stories of all the amazing women in our community. Share your stories using #womenofabillionveg.
Source: Women's Day Illustration by Kate Louise Powell