Natalie Kyriacou is the Founding Director of My Green World and the Creator of World of the Wild mobile game app.
In 2008, I travelled from my hometown of Melbourne to spend some time connecting with nature throughout Asia. My first stop was Sri Lanka, where I worked with abused elephants in a rural community near Kegalle. It was in Sri Lanka that I first lay witness to the huge animal overpopulation problem that the country was experiencing.
I was astounded by the street dog overpopulation problem – at every street crossing, every corner, and outside every shopfront was a roaming street dog. More often than not, they were riddled with mange, a parasitic skin disease, and starved beyond belief. Thousands upon thousands of dogs and cats were in urgent need of medical attention, scattered across the worn streets of Sri Lanka, and nobody seemed to be helping them. Hidden within a tiny canteen in an obscure village in Sri Lanka, I came across a modest pamphlet which simply said: “Dogstar Foundation- Contact us if you have a dog in need.” I began enquiring after this mystery charity and eventually was able to meet Samantha and Mark Green, the Founders of Dogstar Foundation. Soon afterwards, I became heavily involved in Dogstar Foundation, which has expanded into a leading Sri Lankan charity that is transforming the lives of animals in Sri Lanka and providing education to communities throughout the region. (I now am the Director of Dogstar Foundation Down Under!)
From Sri Lanka, I journeyed to Malaysian Borneo, where I spent time working with orphaned and abused orangutans who were rapidly losing their habitat to palm oil plantations. These plantations have eaten away at a continent once ample in species, engulfing the countryside and swallowing the rich diversity of the famous jungle.
It was in Borneo that I met Miko, a young male orangutan who had had his habitat and family destroyed to make way for yet another palm oil plantation. My first introduction to Miko was outside my jungle-side lodge where he was perched on my balcony with my underwear draped around his neck. Despite our initial meeting being one of a tug-of- war contest (which I inevitably lost), I couldn’t help but feel a deep connection to this incredibly fascinating animal.
I returned to Melbourne feeling determined to educate my community, and the greater international community, on the injustices that I had witnessed. That was when the idea of My Green World was born.
Natalie has revolutionised technology platforms through her award-winning mobile game application, mobilising the community to take action in matters of global concern. Added to this, Natalie was responsible for the global ban on elephant rides by Australia’s largest travel wholesaler, Tempo Holidays.
What an amazing Entrepreneur! We hope you have enjoyed another in our series of Enterprising Entrepreneurs,feel free to connect with Natalie on our website.
From those in Heels.