CEO Mary Storrie crowned Pride of Britain
Mary Storrie is the CEO and Founder of the Rosie May Foundation.
Mary has 17 years of experience working in international development. The growth and sustainability of the Rosie May Foundation is testimony to her leadership skills, strength, and resilience.
In response to the pandemic, Mary has been recognised by the Pride of Britain awards for adapting and pivoting resources to support her local community in crisis, alongside the global community.
The Rosie May Foundation has grown organically since 2004, from kitchen table to a small international charity, working on the ground in both the UK, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Committed, driven, and dedicated, Mary works tirelessly and effectively with families in crisis to prevent the separation of children from their parent/s in both Sri Lanka and Nepal. Following the murder of Rosie May age 10, Mary turned her personal tragedy into creating a living legacy for her only daughter. Collaboration is key to the sustainability of the Rosie May Foundation which is established as a legal entity in Sri Lanka (RMF Lanka) and has developed partnerships with local NGO’s in Nepal. In the UK, the Rosie May Foundation is a global partner for Sri Lanka with Hope and Homes for Children. The mission of the Foundation is to deliver direct and practical support for families in crisis and at risk of separation. It aims to reunite and reintegrate institutionalised and trafficked children and women into the community to enable positive, safer, and more resilient futures.
Versatile and highly qualified, Mary studied at the University of Nottingham and gained a BA with 1st class honours in Global studies and a MA with distinction in Global Citizenship, Identity and Human Rights. Her dissertations in Voluntourism and Orphanage tourism were pivotal to developing a strategy of ethical volunteering within the University. In December 2017, Mary received the prestigious Laurette Alumni Award for her advocacy and international work. In April 2018, Mary came runner up in the Clarins Woman of the Year Award. In March 2019, she was recognised on International Women’s Day as inspirational women of the year by ITN. Most recently, in October 2020, Mary was crowned Pride of Britain for the East Midlands Fundraiser of the Year, for her remarkable fundraising initiatives during the pandemic. By pivoting resources, Mary was able to mobilise a team of volunteers and create a community outreach programme to support local families in crisis. Despite a 75% loss of revenue from cancelled events, Mary has navigated her team to power through the pandemic, to support both local and global communities in crisis.
Mary’s first-hand experience of witnessing the devastation of the 2004, Asian tsunami was the catalyst for the Rosie May Home for children who had lost parents. The realisation that most children had a single parent or living relative, led her to develop a reunification programme working closely with the local childcare authorities. Understanding the scale and impact of unnecessary institutionalisation of children in Sri Lanka, because of poverty and discrimination. Mary piloted Project Hope as a mission driven solution. A family strengthening programme that tackles the root causes of separation. Working at grass roots level to identify families at risk, a package of holistic support including skills training is offered to give families a hand up, rather than a handout and has achieved a 100% success rate in keeping families together, to date.
Mary’s most innovative empowerment programme, Think Pink Sri Lanka, is challenging gender and cultural barriers. The first women in the country are trained to drive highly visible Pink Tuk Tuks as taxis, to provide a robust income for single mum drivers and personal safety for women and girls travelling to work and school. Mary is scaling this programme in Sri Lanka to reach more women, based on recent findings by the UNFPA, which has identified that over 90% of women have experienced sexual harassment whilst using public transport.
In rural Nepal, Mary has collaborated with local partners to implement preventative programmes, with some of the most isolated children and women at risk of trafficking, abandonment, or exploitation. Mary, always at the forefront of fundraising led a trek to Nepal in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes and felt compelled to extend her support. Mary collaborated with UNICEF and a local NGO to rebuild an earthquake resilient-proof, primary school, in a remote Sherpa village in the lower Everest region. Identifying poverty as one of the main drivers for separation and trafficking, other initiatives in rural communities have been established. A female farming co-operative was supported to enable food security for their families. A Solar light programme connecting UK schools with those off grid in Nepal, enables children in some of the remotest parts, to study safely at home in the dark. In 2019, Mary was successful in securing a grant from UK Aid Direct funded by the British people. It aims to re-integrate female trafficking survivors of sexual and domestic abuse into the community and is currently funded through the Small Charities Challenge Fund.
Mary is a strong advocate for collaboration and is passionate about working with a collective of like-minded organisations, to strengthen the development of community-based care in both Sri Lanka and Nepal and prevent poverty from tearing families apart. Mary’s unique combination of enthusiasm and empathy, combined with her creative ideas and pro-active approach, has been instrumental in her success.
To contact mary directly email at: email@example.com
Go to www.rosiemay.com for further information