Hagar’s fourth annual ‘Lunch to Liberate’ was billed as a fun, empowering, inspiring afternoon where women come together to raise awareness and funds for survivors of slavery.

As you can see, it didn’t disappoint.

Four hundred women turned out, raising an incredible $110,000 and I was honoured to donate my time as MC.



Jackie-frank-rachel-griffiths.jpg.General Manager Fashion, Beauty and Health Pacific Magazines Jackie Frank and Academy Award nominee Rachel Griffiths delivering an engaging QandA. Photos –  thanks to Paul Muir.


Hagar CEO Jo Pride explaining how crucial donor support is to ensure lives in Cambodia, Afghanistan and Vietnam are rebuilt.

Natalie Durkin and Lara Dowd on www.engagingwomen.com.au

The incredible Hagar committee – women who get it done! From left: Amanda Tolhurst, Teneal Smoli, Natalie Durkin, Lara Dowd, Melissa Connell, Mardi Foreman and Kate Wilson.

_DSC2727Jackie Frank with Australia’s Ambassador for Women and Girls Natasha Stott Despoja. (I know!!)

_DSC2735Once again, the event was a sell-out and has firmed as one of the most anticipated events on Melbourne’s social calendar. Generous sponsors including, Food & Desire, Where the Grass is Green, Pachamama Wines, Laurent Perrier, Splitrock, Tim & Terrys, O’Connor Beef, Huon Salmon, Husk, ASPAR and Marie Claire made for an excellent silent auction.

Some of the guests have been supporters from the beginning and there were many welcome, beautiful new faces.







_DSC2752But perhaps the most defining moment came thanks to Rachel Griffiths sharing an uncomfortable truth surrounding the funding model of orphanages overseas.

She urged us to rethink participating in ‘orphanage tours.’

Rachel Griffiths Hagar Lunch to Liberate on www.engagingwomen.com.auWhy?

Because these tours have sparked an entire industry, particularly in Cambodia.

75% of children in orphanages have at least one living parent because some parents are giving up their children, believing they will be better fed and educated in an orphanage.

The harsh truth is many orphanages are profit-driven and rely on the tourist dollar.

Well-meaning, good people are propping this industry up.

Rachel reminded us it makes much more sense to support the work of an international organisation with a proven track record like Hagar.


_DSC2708Hagar Lunch to Liberate


_DSC2847Jo Pride on www.engagingwomen.com.au

Huge thanks to Melbourne based  photographer Paul Muir 

Kudos to the event stylists ‘Where The Grass is Green’ for a stunning room.


It’s incredible to think what 400 women can achieve, on this occasion they helped raise $110,000!

Thanks for your supportive smiles, glass tapping and for digging deep for Hagar.

Support Hagar here. 

Martine Harte MC on www.engagingwomen.com.au

_DSC2771Lara Dowd and Rachel Griffiths with spectacular Melbourne in view from The Carousel’s deck. Photo – Paul Muir.

_DSC2874_DSC2891_DSC2841Hagar Lunch to Liberate

_DSC2526Natalie Durkin on www.engagingwomen.com.au

Hagar Lunch to Liberate

Martine Harte Hagar Lunch to Liberate


Martine Harte and Ambassador for Women and Girls advisor/author Felicity Volk.


Hear more from Jo Pride, who came to Hagar as CEO seven months ago after a decade at one of the world’s best known charities Oxfam here.

Learn what Natasha Stott Despoja it up to over here.

Check out the amazing homes of leading Melbourne creatives here. 

And don’t forget to sign up for my next newsletter, goodness and good people doing good things every month! Pop over here.