Supporting education and related programs for the empowerment
of children, youth and their communities in the Asia Pacific

GIRLS EDUCATION CHANGES LIVES

Our latest Starfish newsletter focuses on gender equity and the empowerment of girls and women, and the Lasallian Foundation's response to this issue. You can read a copy here.

“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”  Malala Yousafzai 

I’d like to share the story of Liana*. When she was a young girl, her parents gave Liana and her younger sister away to a child-less couple, which is quite common practice in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Their “new” parents did eventually have three of their own children. Life was good for this family of five children until the father abandoned his wife and children for another woman and there was no breadwinner to support them. The mother struggled to care for all the children on her own. She begged for food to feed her own small children as a priority, leaving Liana and her sister to almost starve.

At the time, Liana was in Year 12 at Jubilee Catholic Secondary School, a Lasallian high school in Port Moresby, and she was a very bright student. It became obvious to the Deputy Principal that Liana was losing weight and looking quite unwell. When the Deputy discovered Liana’s situation she organised for Liana to have breakfast each morning at school, and was provided with lunch and extra food to take home. Liana's high school fees were paid for by a donor, however there was no money for university.

After completing her secondary education with good grades, Liana found employment at a stationery business in Port Moresby. She worked there for over three years until she had saved enough money to go to Cambodia to study prosthetics. After graduating in Cambodia, Liana returned to PNG and she now runs a prosthetics clinic – a much needed resource in PNG. Liana never forgot the help she received during those dark days during Year 12 and she was determined lead a life where she could help others. Her commitment and motivation are to be admired.

Jubilee School is rightly proud of Liana’s achievements and contribution to the community. Her determination and ability to overcome the challenges in her early life reflect her resilience and motivation to change her life. And she is now improving the lives of others, people with a disability who are usually one of the most disadvantaged sections of society. 

Like the Lasallian Foundation, Liana’s school motto was “Making a Difference”. Since 2000, the dedicated school principal, Mrs Bernadette Ove (pictured right), has helped nurture a generation of bright PNG students; students who have gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields and careers and in their community. Mrs Ove has been a terrific role model for young girls as a leading educator in PNG. 

“…I want to pay tribute to the girls and women who dream big. Empowering women empowers humanity.”
Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director, UN World Food Program

Numerous studies have shown that the education of girls and women is the single most effective strategy to ensure the well-being and health of children and long term success of developing communities. Benefits include reduction of child and maternal mortality; lower births rates; improved child nutrition and health; improved participation in workforce and society; reduced rates of child marriage; improved income potential; increased economic product productivity and growth; increased involvement in the political process ensuring women’s views are represented; and increased protection of girls from HIV/Aids, abuse, exploitation and trafficking.

With just $54, you can change the world by helping a girl become educated. Please help the next Liana to find a way out of poverty.

Your generosity will ensure that girls can attend primary and secondary school in a safe environment. You will ensure that the girls can travel safely to and from school. You will ensure that the girls have access to good nutrition, clean drinking water and sanitation programs, not only in PNG, but in Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Pakistan.

All of us at the Lasallian Foundation thank you for your support and we wish you and your loved ones all the very best for a healthy, happy and safe new year.

With warmest regards,
Miranda esignature
Miranda Chow
CEO – Lasallian Foundation

PS. Please share this story with your family and friends, and together you can create a life changing opportunity for a girl in need.

*All names have been changed due to privacy.