A Personal Journey

Unveiling the Heart Behind Recovere

Juliette Wright OAM - Founder, CEO
Juliette Wright, CEO and Founder of Recovere
Hello everyone, my name is Juliette and I am the founder of Recovere. I am so so grateful you are reading my new blog. Please feel free to contact me with any ideas, questions, any feedback!
So today, we’re diving into a topic that’s so close to my heart. We’re going to talk about the “why” behind Recovere, why it exists, and the journey of building something that goes beyond just a platform. Recovere started with a simple yet profound realisation – the traditional approach to humanitarian aid often falls short. The well-intentioned donations sometimes miss the mark, causing more harm than good. That’s where the idea of Recovere took root.
Why's it so personal?

You might be wondering, “Why is this so personal?” From its humble beginnings as a concept created on my kitchen table, I was determined to find an easy way to donate my son’s baby clothes to someone in urgent need. Well I couldn’t find one charity to take the clothes!

I realised three things in that month;

1. Charities didn’t have a way to request the daily needs of their clients,

2. They didn’t have a warehouse out the back full of items for their clients,

3. We were terrible at guessing what people actually needed.

So, I created GIVIT
Juliette Wright standing with member a of the Red Cross

Juliette Wright and Red Cross member. Photo: Me!

GIVIT has evolved into a critical player in disaster recovery and an indispensable resource for numerous Australian charities, schools, and community organisations. GIVIT is now the smart way for Australians to extend a helping hand to their fellow citizens. Under my leadership and my comrades of staff and volunteers, GIVIT not only connects generous hearts with genuine needs on an everyday basis but also stands as an award-winning Disaster and Emergency Recovery Service. When disaster strikes, the innovative approach ensures a seamless flow of donations to those who need it most, creating a lifeline for communities grappling with the aftermath.

I am very proud in in the model I created, as a smart and practical means for everyday people to actively participate in community recovery.
Why a global platform?
Building Recovere is more than just creating a platform. It’s about addressing the pain points in the current system that I have been observing (not for 15 years at GIVIT but) for 39 years. It is not a story I share when I speak publicly because it is a prickly topic, but my Uncle was involved in delivering the humanitarian support that was delivered after the 1985 Live Aid event.  Well, let’s just say it was disappointing heart-wrenching result.  Aid was delivered, and the money did not last long, but the aid agencies were also overwhelmed with inappropriate donations that were expired and out of date – along with a soul crushing amount of lasagna pasta!

Remember they were in drought and there are only so many things that you can do with lasagna sheets! You would think that is not a bad thing but my uncle can still not eat pasta of any kind as it was a big problem on the ground, and “tasteless”.  Since then I have been fascinated with well-meaning generous people donating items. I am now contacted on a regular basis by communities affected by disasters looking for a scalable donation management platform, as communities affected by natural disasters often have a second disaster.. donations that come without warning that impeded aid agencies from doing their good work. Unsolicited Bilateral Donations (UBDs) are also often culturally inappropriate.

I have a collection of great stories, some from the front line, but some I need to prove! They are just too crazy. Maybe that is my Podcast series!
Unsolicited Aid Nightmares: Learning from Mistakes Across the Globe

Here are a list of UBD stories that were quite serious.

Building collapsed after the 2010 Haiti Earthquake. Photo: Claudiad.

1. The Case of Mouldy Blankets – Haiti Earthquake (2010)

What Happened: After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, unsolicited donations flooded in, including blankets. Unfortunately, due to poor storage and shipping conditions, many of these blankets arrived in a mouldy and unusable condition.

Consequence: The influx of mouldy blankets not only posed health risks but also added an additional burden on the already strained waste management systems.

Source: [How Not to Help in Haiti] (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-not-help-haiti-180948956/)
Tsunami disaster in Palu City Indonesia left this mosque standing in the sea. Photo: Muhammad Fikri.

2. Expired Medications – Indonesia Tsunami (2004)

What Happened:  In the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia, well-meaning donors sent medical supplies, including expired medications, which were of no use to the affected population.

Consequence:  Expired medications not only risked the health of those in need but also contributed to the challenges of disposing of unusable items.

Source: [The Global Journal - Unsolicited Aid: Lessons from Aceh](https://www.theglobaljournal.net/article/view/33/)
Young Syrian refugee putting on her coat. Photo: Ahmed Akacha

3. Inappropriate Clothing – Syrian Refugee Crisis

What Happened: During the Syrian refugee crisis, inappropriate clothing donations, such as winter coats in the middle of summer, flooded collection centres.

Consequence: Inappropriate clothing not only overwhelmed aid organisations but also wasted resources and left refugees with items they couldn’t use immediately.

Source: [The Guardian - Donated Clothing Causes Headache for Aid Workers] (https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/aug/05/secondhand-clothes-flooding-worlds-markets-aid-agencies)
Tsunami damage in East Japan after earthquake disaster. Photo: Enase.

4. Unsolicited Toys – Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (2011)

What Happened: Following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, numerous unsolicited toy donations arrived, overwhelming local organisations.

Consequence:  The focus on toys diverted attention from more urgent needs, creating challenges in managing and distributing donations effectively.

Source: [Japan Today - Earthquake and Tsunami Victims Still Trying to Manage Mountains of Toys] ( https://japantoday.com/category/features/kuchikomi/toy-story-earthquake-and-tsunami-victims-still-trying-to-manage-mountains-of-toys )
Malawian farmer planting cassava. Photo: Nikada.

5. Useless Food Items – Malawi Famine (2002)

What Happened: During the famine in Malawi, well-intentioned donors sent food items that were culturally inappropriate and unfamiliar to the local population.

Consequence: The unfamiliar food items were left unused, contributing to food wastage and not addressing the immediate nutritional needs of the affected population.

Source: [The Guardian - Don't Send Us Your Tinsel and Tat] ( https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/jul/17/famine )
Let's solve this!

Learning from these examples emphasises the need for a more thoughtful and coordinated approach to aid delivery, ensuring that assistance aligns with the immediate needs of the affected communities.


So many people need support. Let’s solve that!! That’s my purpose.

That is why I am building Recovere, which will launch late 2024, or early 2025.

Thanks for reading my first blog! I’m excited!