In 2009 BPW Australia launched the “BPW Port Moresby and BPW Australia Education Fund Project”. For many years BPW Port Moresby members have financially assisted hundreds of women and girls who would otherwise not have been able to continue their education.
At the BPW WA 2008 Conference in Bunbury, BPW WA members watched a video about this project and heard Nafisa Zoeb, BPW Kalamunda member, speak about it from her personal experience while living in Papua New Guinea with her husband who is an aid worker.
Moved by the contribution BPW members in Port Moresby are making, a number of clubs pledged significant donations on the spot.
Equally impressed, BPW Australia President Marilyn Forsythe launched this as a BPW Australia project.
At BPW WA State Conference in Mandurah in 2010, instead of buying gifts for guest speakers they were presented with a certificate acknowledging their contribution and advised that a donation would be made on their behalf to the “BPW Port Moresby and BPW Australia Education Fund Project”. The funds for these presentations to speakers were donated by individual BPW WA clubs. The concept was received enthusiastically by speakers and members alike.
Every BPW club has individual projects and programs they support, like the Nursing School in La Paz, Mexico. Here now, is another worthwhile project, operating in our own region.
Since independence, Papua New Guinea’s unemployment rate has increased dramatically. In a country with no social security, unemployed families have no way of affording school fees, and it is usually girls who are forced to leave school.
BPW Port Moresby runs a scholarship program for young women, which in 2009 alone assisted 106 students with education fees. The club also runs personal development workshops for scholarship recipients – educating them in areas such as HIV/AIDS, domestic violence and rape, as well as building skills in grooming, personal hygiene and preparation for job interviews.
This program has changed the lives of young women beyond measure. BPW clubs across Australia can join other BPW WA clubs in giving support to this project with either a significant one-off donation or maybe embracing this as an ongoing BPW project.