Meet Christine Janin, founder of A Chacun son Everest

A Chacun son Everest - 2020 Simone Awards
A Chacun son Everest - 2020 Simone Awards


À Chacun Son Everest! is an Association founded in 1994 by Christine Janin, a mountaineer doctor and the first French woman ever to climb Mount Everest and to go the North Pole. The association is dedicated to helping children suffering from leukemia or cancer and women suffering from breast cancer by guiding them in the post-disease phase, putting together trips to the mountains for people in recovery.

Christine, what is your background? 

I am a mountaineer doctor. Medicine has taught me everything. I was able to climb Everest a few years ago and learned so much from that experience. From there, I met wonderful people who encouraged me in thinking about the difficulties that I encountered when trying to climb Everest; and the parallel with disease. This is why I decided to found À Chacun Son Everest!.

Tell us more about À Chacun Son Everest!

I committed myself to this cause 25 years ago and it has been such a strong message for women and children suffering from cancer. Their individual journeys are completely different from each other, but they are also their personal Everest, and we guide them through the descent. This is a complicated phase because everything has changed for them. Their self-image has changed, and how others see them is different: they seem stronger and brave, but this is not that obvious. This is why guiding them through this post-treatment phase is so important. We build teams of up to 16 people, including doctors and nurses. It demands a lot of organization, just like a huge mountain climbing party roped together.

What do you offer through your organization?

Since 1994, we have put in place one-week stays for children suffering from cancer, in Chamonix in the French Alps. Our ambition is to help them become stronger than ever through walking, climbing, and meeting with kids in the same situation. For the association’s 20th anniversary, we decided to open up to women suffering from breast cancer. Generally speaking, our stays rely on kindness. They involve many laughs and some cries. We offer physical activities such as walking and yoga, as well as more spiritual moments like meditation and sophrology classes. Lastly, we provide psychological support as our goal is to help regenerate the soul. Doctors and treatments have cured their bodies, while we cure their souls. We want to make sure that they leave Chamonix proud and free from what they went through. In total, since 1994, we have welcomed 4,561 children and 1,200 women.

How do you feel about winning the Simone Awards? 

I am so touched by this award. For me, this is a powerful recognition of our work. On the one hand, it shows the value of what we have put in place for the children and the women; and on the other hand, it is a true appreciation of the people involved in the association. These people are entirely committed and proud to be part of this adventure. This award is a real gift for all of us. You are giving me a prize, but I see it as a way to thank these amazing people. I am honored, as well, to win this prize alongside other women on an international level.

How will the Simone Awards contribute to À Chacun Son Everest!’s mission?

The prize will enable us to welcome these women and children in a safe environment and provide good working conditions for our team. We provide these “restorative” stays which can be seen as the last nudge in the recovery process. We help them transform their disease experience into a strength, and find this energy to live and not feel alone anymore. Some of our guests have told me that through the disease and their recovery, they were able to take back control of their life. I like to say that the disease forces people to stop for a while, let go of the things they don’t want to do anymore and switch to a better life.

Meet Shelby Meyers

Landscape for Humanity - 2020 Simone Awards
Landscape for Humanity - 2020 Simone Awards


Landscape For Humanity works with landscape as the fundamental framework for creating spatial changes that support social and environmental justice through design, research, and real-world projects. As Executive Director, Shelby works on the ground, with the communities to build these landscapes.

Shelby, can you tell us about your background?

Generally speaking, my work is also what I am really passionate about, which is building gardens and landscapes, while working directly with communities. I believe that gardens and plants can really heal people and bring people together. It has been amazing to witness that through the projects I have worked on in the past years. It’s just such a fun and powerful tool for community building, which I think is getting more and more important these days.

How did you start your journey in community building?

I went to the University of Oregon in Eugene, where I studied Landscape Architecture and graduated in 2016. From there, I stayed within the community of Eugene as I wanted to get my hands dirty and work with the soil, as well as with the people. I was able to put to use everything I had been thinking about while at school. I was on the ground designing, installing and managing gardens, and started working with landscape contractors. I worked on my very first big project which was a pivotal moment: with three close girlfriends, we started a community market in town called The Whiteaker Community Market. It is in a very artistic neighborhood and we have a lot of craft vendors, food vendors and farmers there. We worked to have as much inclusiveness as possible, enabling members of the community to express themselves through activities like yoga and arts and crafts. We even had a stage for music! This project has been around for five years now and it is still really thriving, especially during the pandemic. It’s such an essential resource! It taught me so much about the value of people having a space to be included in and to come together.

Why did you decide to create Landscape For Humanity?

Soon after, within the same neighborhood, I got involved with a housing cooperative called Emerald Village Eugene. This project was started by a non-profit called SquareOne Villages. It’s a tiny house community with 22 tiny homes. I worked with a landscape contractor to build all the landscape around it including rain gardens, and contributed to fund and design a community urban agriculture area. Through the whole project, I was able to work on the ground with the residents. They helped me the whole time define the landscape. On my end, I was trying to facilitate them in taking the lead and ownership of their landscape. They helped me build the entire thing actually they did a lot of the labor. The last portion to be finished was just a few days before social distancing with COVID and that was the community agriculture area, where we built a greenhouse and planted a bunch of vegetable seeds. Through having the stay-at-home order, they were able to grow their fresh produce which fed the entire community. This was such a profound experience, working with people and building their own gardens. And that whole experience inspired a lot of the work for Landscape for Humanity, regarding designing and installing edible landscapes with and for vulnerable communities.

What is the mission of Landscape For Humanity?

We work with landscape to create spatial changes that support social and environmental justice. Landscape For Humanity was started as a collaboration between the work that I was doing at Emerald Village and a group of professors at the University of Oregon in the Landscape Architecture department. The professors began collaborating because they were researching and teaching about productive landscapes in terms of food, water and energy, with a focus on providing these resources to under-resourced communities. To make a project like this happen, you have to be on the ground with the communities, and that’s where I came in. This collaboration enables the benefit of working with a brilliant, connected research team to most thoughtfully design and collaborate with the community on the ground.

How many projects are you working on through Landscape For Humanity?

Currently, we are working on three projects. In addition to the Emerald Village which I mentioned, we are working on a project at Opportunity Village in Eugene as well. While the Emerald Village provides permanent housing, the Opportunity Village focuses on transitional housing with less infrastructure. It is for a population that is only there for a short period of time. Within that village we are building greywater filtration and smart irrigation systems to improve quality of life. Currently the site does not have that much vegetation, so we are also creating gardens while simultaneously cleaning the water. The third project is in Lima, Peru. It is similar to the second project with the development of bio-filtration in order to create a sustainable sanitation system. In all three of these projects the goal is to design and build with and for the community. With the social focus at the foundation, the projects are much more resilient and equitable.

What is your vision for the future of Landscape For Humanity?

I see Landscape For Humanity as a resource for landscape designers who want to do projects with communities, even if these are difficult projects to put in place. When I started my career, I did not receive much organizational support to design landscapes with communities. I foresee a core role of Landscape for Humanity as helping to fill this gap by supporting landscape designers with resources, research, and a network of support for their more social and environmental justice driven ideas.

How do you feel about winning the Simone Awards?

I’m really excited! This award could not have come at a more perfect time. Especially with all the changes in the world, it’s just great to have a foundation to help us build this non-profit and move forward. I believe that this work is more needed now than ever, and these funds will definitely allow important projects to flourish.

How will the Simone Awards contribute to the cause?

One thing we are really in a place to develop now is getting the non-profit aspect going, so that we can actively push the projects on the ground and work with the communities themselves. This award will help fund and develop the non-profit side, which is what I will be focusing on. We will be able to take time to look at where we are right now, consider all the recent changes in the world, build new partnerships, and develop our vision. We have the capacity to help and develop future on-the-ground projects. Something we discussed recently is that with Covid-19, we have the knowledge and the resources to create more sanitation-related projects. We were discussing, for instance, how to make public handwashing stations while creating better public spaces. This grant will help us fund opportunities like this.

Meet Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke

Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke - 2020 Simone Awards winner
Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke - 2020 Simone Awards winner


Women’s WorldWide Web (W4) is an online crowdfunding platform aiming to promote girls’ and women’s empowerment worldwide, in cities and in rural areas, in both developing and developed countries. As the founder of W4, Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke is entirely dedicated to this mission.

Lindsey, what was your journey before you founded Women’s WorldWide Web (W4)?

Well, to give you some background, all my adult life I have been defending human rights and doing humanitarian work, but prior to Women’s WorldWide Web I was not working in tech at all. It was in 2010, when I was working on the island of Cebu, in the center of the Philippines archipelago, that I was first struck by the power of ICTs (Information & Communication Technologies) to accelerate girls’ and women’s empowerment. I was managing a humanitarian program to provide education, healthcare and other services for children and families living in absolute poverty. These families were squatting in a cemetery, literally living among the tombstones, with no access to electricity, running water, or sanitation. My work focused on enabling girls and young women to attend school and college because, sadly, girls were the ones most often excluded from education. Although the girls and young women in our program were succeeding brilliantly in their studies, my team and I observed that they lacked the IT skills required to obtain formal employment. Needless to say, these girls had never had access to computers. So, we set up an IT vocational training center right there, next to the cemetery. Giving the girls and young women access to IT skills and qualifications, ranging from digital literacy to more advanced skills, proved a powerfully effective way to help them obtain safe, formal employment and access the increasing employment opportunities offered in the Philippines, notably in the country’s growing IT-BPM sector.

What is the mission of Women’s WorldWide Web?

Today, the majority of the more than 3.5 billion people who are digitally excluded, with no access to internet, are girls and women. So, we still have a lot of work to do to ensure girls’ and women’s digital inclusion and equality. If there has ever been a time when we have seen the importance of digital inclusion, it is now, during this pandemic. In the Philippines, we provided girls and women with educational opportunities, but we saw that tech skills are increasingly indispensable, both for daily life and for accessing safe, formal employment. The majority of jobs today require digital skills, and certainly the jobs of tomorrow will (it’s estimated that almost 90% of future jobs will require basic IT skills). As soon as I became aware of this need, and this “global digital gender divide” and its harmful effects, I knew I needed to do something — and that was the origin of Women’s WorldWide Web. I have always been inspired by the resilience and resourcefulness of the heroic people I’ve met around the world, many of them seemingly ordinary girls and women who end up capable of extraordinary achievements. What is wonderful is that girls and women, if you give them access to technologies and digital skills, are able to create their own solutions to some of the biggest challenges their local communities face. This immense potential is what drives us at W4 and makes us so passionate about what we do.

What are the upcoming projects for Women’s WorldWide Web?

W4 was founded in 2012. It is still a relatively young organization but we have come quite a long way. Today, we are a partner of the UN coalition EQUALS, which promotes girls’ and women’s digital inclusion and equality. We’re determined to contribute, as best as we can, to closing the global digital gender gap and to enabling girls and women to have access to technologies and tech skills.

How do you feel about winning a Simone Award?

Our team is thrilled about this award! I love its spirit and values. I’ve read Julie Carabello-Baum’s interview about her inspiration for founding the awards several times: it resonates deeply with what we do at Women’s WorldWide Web. In the interview, Julie Carabello-Baum eloquently highlights the dedication and commitment needed to start and grow impactful initiatives that can support other women and promote their empowerment. These values — of positive impact, dedication, and commitment to a meaningful cause — are clearly important to the Carabello-Baum family, and they are vitally important to us at W4. Julie speaks of “ordinary people doing extraordinary things.” That phrase really struck me. Our work at Women’s WorldWide Web is about promoting girls’ and women’s empowerment through technologies (Sustainable Development Goal 5b). We work to ensure girls’ and women’s digital inclusion, so they have access to technologies and tech skills. Access to digital technologies and skills is indispensable if one is to fully participate in our increasingly digitized societies and economies. Within the frame of W4’s work, I have met so many seemingly ordinary girls and women around the world doing extraordinary things, and often in unimaginably challenging circumstances: girls and women from very marginalized, disadvantaged communities succeeding in their education and training, lifting their families out of poverty, contributing to the development of their communities, generating innovative solutions that harness tech to help their communities. It’s incredibly inspiring to see how people, when given the opportunity (as the girls and women in our programs are), can create extraordinary positive change. So, I feel very honored, because I deeply admire the nature of this award and the approach of the Carabello-Baum family to their work in general. Julie also emphasizes that there are many people around the world doing great things and that the Simone Awards seek to shine a light on those people. It’s heartening that this award is shining a light on initiatives like Women’s WorldWide Web. By extension, the Simone Awards are shining a light on the extraordinary girls and women in W4’s programs around the world.

How will this award contribute to Women’s WorldWide Web’s cause?

This award will contribute to two important programs. The first one is promoting women-led projects that harness technology to protect the environment and enable communities to adapt to climate change. The second is an exciting project that we are part of, in partnership with the UN coalition EQUALS, providing free IT skills training for girls and women around the world. I think these projects really chime with the award and its focus on positive social and environmental impact! I would like to add that the Simone Award is particularly special to our team thanks to the values that underly its origin and the work of Château de Pommard, which is about respecting the environment while developing the art of winemaking, and recognizes what hard work and dedication are required to cultivate the vineyards. The Simone Award conveys all this and the uplifting values of the Carabello-Baum family. Technology can be an enabler for so many things, and it is beautifully apt that, at Women’s WorldWide Web, we are stepping up our focus on enabling girls and women, through technology, to play a key role in protecting the environment and creating initiatives to protect the planet and help communities to adapt to climate change. The Simone Award will contribute to this.