Twenty years ago Susan Barton was working in an orphanage in Sri Lanka. There, she took to a baby that was severely malnourished and realized that even though it wasn’t her child, she had a responsibility to this baby. Her life would never be the same. At that moment her path to becoming a Social Entrepreneur Success began.
She nursed this child all afternoon and looked into the baby’s eyes all afternoon. Later on that night she found out the baby died of malnutrition. This experience rocked her soul. She says she was “just a naive girl from the suburbs” and she came back to Australia a very different girl. She started fostering every child she could upon her return.
At that time when she began to “save every child in the world” and the more she looked, the more she found. And then she got to attend an entrepreneurship program called Money & You®, held in Australia. While she was at Money & You®, she learned some incredible distinctions. What happened then was a group of business people, who were Money & You® grads, began to form around her project to ensure it would keep running if anything were to happen to Susan.
They created the Lighthouse Foundation (http://www.lighthousefoundation.org.au) and incorporated as a charity. Then they looked at franchising and how to develop structures, procedures and policies, and to actually move forward in training – to leverage her project to save children all across Australia.
To this day, the outreach program has affected over 500 young people.
“They are alive today in the world because of the outcomes I learned at Money & You®. I can’t begin to tell you how much Money & You® has meant to not me, but 500 young homeless people in Australia,” says Susan Barton.
Susan is one remarkable woman, steely and gentle all at the same time, her love and compassion for society’s ‘forgotten children’ is as inspiring as it is touching.
In February 2009, Susan sat down with Money & You® Australia Director, Jane Jordan for a two-part interview.
Watch them here:
Susan Barton is a Melbourne woman with a passion for young people. With six children of her own, she has spent the last 20 years providing homes for damaged young people so that healing can take place. She is the founder of Lighthouse Foundation, one of Australia’s finest examples of social entrepreneurship.
Susan began her work 23 years ago. While working in an orphanage in Sri Lanka, a baby died in her arms, changing the direction of her life. On her return to Australia, Susan began fostering children in her own home. In 1991 with great support from the business community, the Lighthouse Foundation was formed to support and expand Susan’s work.
Susan’s vision is to establish Lighthouses across Australia, all offering the unique Lighthouse Model of Care. No one doubts she will do it.