The Great Initiative & Good Causes

Karen talks about life, music, dance and giving back with David Peschek.

Two years ago, having met Mariella Frostrup, who was already thinking about the project, Karen was instrumental in founding the GREAT Initiative. GREAT stands for Gender Rights & Equality Action Trust – It’s a profoundly, brilliantly feminist organisation that believes, as Karen explains, that “if you save the women, you save the family, then the whole community. By offering help with things such as tribal reconciliation, and giving training for women in basic areas – the charity is able to give them access to economic power, a life. It is practical more than ideological.”
Recently Karen accompanied Mariella, Mariella’s husband – the renowned human rights lawyer Jason McCue – and GREAT patron Rene Zellweger on a trip to Africa. With another small charity, Femmes Africa Solidarite, they have instituted the African Gender Award – an incentive for each country to improve the lot of its women.
“The women are amazing,” Karen says, still visibly awed by what she saw. “They are so courageous – more than courageous. Their lives have been torn down and they are still there fighting. It gives me goosebumps to think about it!
To read more about GREAT, to see what they’ve achieved in a short time, and to help them further their hugely important work, please click here.

David Peschek is a writer and critic who has written on music and culture for The Guardian, MOJO, Gay Times, The and Esquire.


The Great Initiative

The Great Initiative proudly instigated the passing into law of the International Development (Gender Equality) Act 2014, which attained Royal Assent on March 13.

This Act will, for the first time for any government in the world, place a statutory responsibility on the Secretary of State for International Development to take gender into account in decisions relating to how the UK's overseas aid budget is allocated.

The Bill was originally proposed by British charity, the Gender Rights and Equalities Action Trust (Great), and taken up by Bill Cash MP as a Private Member's Bill (and supported by Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development).

From now on the Secretary of State for International Development will have to routinely consider issues like access to education and protection under the law against sexual exploitation and domestic violence.

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Karen Ruimy supports the following charities


Karen Ruimy is the Patron of Bottletop, a support grass roots education projects which empower young people and we alleviate poverty through the production of environmentally friendly and ethically sourced products: Bottletop Campaign – our charity – supports young people through education projects which empower them to take control of their lives. We fund initiatives which tackle adolescent health issues in creative and effective ways. We focus on those taking a longer term holistic approach, tailored for the local needs of young people & simultaneously addressing key issues such as sexual & reproductive health, substance abuse and gender equality.

Oxfam – The Circle

Karen Ruimy supports the singer and activist Annie Lennox’s initiative The Circle. On May 13th 2010, Karen was asked to perform a flamenco piece at The Circle’s ‘The Oxfam Curiosity Shop’ fund raising event held @ Selfridges in London.

The Global Gift Gala

The Global Gift Co is an organization dedicated to philanthropic events worldwide. Its aim is to engage responsible organizations, resources, celebrities, people of influence and synchronistic brands to have a transformative global impact on the lives of women and children. This edition of The Global Gift, Gala was a tribute to those that support and foster awareness for the empowerment of women.


The Global Gift Gala Paris 2013