Empowering women across the globe to live their best lives through the use of online technology and digital media entertainment is an innovative initiative spearheaded by Australian business woman Sonya McGuire.
Sonya’s vision is to empower women around the world, especially those in disadvantaged situations, by providing access to learning the practical skills necessary to create opportunities in their own communities. Learning skills that can be used in small business can give women self-esteem and improve their standard of living.
“Women are capable of doing many things and can survive in the most hostile of situations, but many are not able to access education and consequently feel disempowered. Often it is not practical or affordable for women in developing countries to undertake a traditional education, however, due to the digital media revolution, it is now possible to reach women around the globe, even those in some of the poorest and most remote places of the world. I want to harness the power of technology and media to deliver affordable and targeted educational entertainment to support many people. As a wife, a mother of three boys and a business woman, I am acutely aware of the challenges faced by women every day. I am determined to educate and empower women with a device that’s able to fit into the palm of their hands.”
Sonya McGuire has established a production house on the Gold Coast, Queensland. IFTV Studios will deliver professional educational and entertaining documentaries, distributed through the internet and various TV platforms, aimed at improving the rights of women and children, and importantly, reducing violence against women.
Helping people and giving back to the community comes naturally to Sonya, who spent the first 16 years of her own life in Burma (Myanmar) before moving to Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. When she came to Australia, she knew no one and had little English but was committed to getting an education and living a meaningful and successful life. With a strong determination to succeed, Sonya found friendships through a local Pentecostal church, modelled part-time to earn a living and undertook university studies.
As an IT systems analyst programmer for the state government and a senior consultant at Frances Bay Slipway, and in the decades that followed, Sonya McGuire made a name for herself as a programmer in a male-dominated industry.
In her late 20s, Sonya saw a need to educate people in real-world information technology and established two international training colleges on the Gold Coast, ACIT in 1995 and IFTV in 2000. Two decades later these colleges deliver world-class, industry-leading courses in digital technologies, networking, telecommunication, business and multimedia, educating students from over 20 countries.
Sonya McGuire has travelled extensively with diplomats, worked alongside people of influence and has also witnessed the imbalance between rich and poor. Using her-late mother as a source of inspiration, and with the thought of millions of women living in fear and tolerating violence, Sonya is acutely aware that as an executive and international business operator, she has the power to help women in third-world countries overcome adversity.
“As part of this initiative and for the first time in history, women from all walks of life will simultaneously experience entertainment and education programs that have been expressly designed to help them discover their strengths and start their dream businesses. I am always looking at how I can improve the quality of life for other people, and as one of the lucky few who were able to travel to receive an education, I feel there is much I have to give back to the world.”