At imei, we take corporate social responsibility (CSR) seriously. And knowing actions speak so much louder than words, we were delighted to welcome Marisa Chilcott to our office recently to bring us up to date with one of imei’s major CSR initiatives and how we support the Harding Miller Education Foundation.
Why we support the Harding Miller Education Foundation
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Harding Miller Education Foundation, it’s a really wonderful cause. Established by Kim Harding and Irene Miller, who are true champions of the education of girls and of public education, the foundation provides scholarships to Australian girls who have high academic potential but are deemed as disadvantaged.
Kim Harding and Irene Miller fund all of the administration costs of the foundation themselves, meaning every dollar raised goes to the girls and meeting their needs. In addition, for every girl that an organisation fully funds, the foundation funds another. So, we double the impact of our sponsorship, making a difference to the lives of two school girls in NSW.
Clever and ambitious girls experiencing socio-economic hardship
The many recipients of the foundation’s scholarships have come from incredibly diverse backgrounds. Some of these girls are coping with the death of a parent, others are living in out-of-home care having experienced family violence or dysfunction. Many are from farming families who have been severely affected by drought, others are living with a disability, or have parents with an immigrant, asylum or refugee background.
While the girls’ back stories are all heart-wrenching in so many different ways, they all share one common denominator: Every single one of these girls is clever and ambitious and is experiencing socio-economic hardship.
4-year scholarship support
Providing 4-year scholarship support for years 9-12 through the Harding Miller Education Foundation is valued at approximately $20,000. For these girls, it’s absolutely priceless. The scholarship includes giving the girls a quality laptop and access to professional help-desk support, high speed mobile broadband with a generous monthly data allowance, face-to-face and online tutoring, as well as financial support to help with school uniforms, books and other school expenses. The scholarship also provides mentoring from a personal coach.
From imei’s perspective, our staff love getting involved to support the foundation in two ways:
- We get behind fundraising activities and donate dollars
- We also donate our time and expertise to deliver the help-desk support services, helping ensure the girls make the most of their technology.
Marisa came into our office to tell us about how we’re helping two very able girls, who each have enormous potential, fulfill their potential.
Overcoming drought with a career in agri-science
For Emily, who lives in country-NSW, you’d think being raised on a farm has the makings of an idyllic childhood. For some years, this was certainly the case, inspiring Emily to dream of a career in the climate-smart agriculture of the future.
But with Australia’s ever-tightening drought, Emily began having to spend more time out of school to help work on the farm. School homework had to play second fiddle to farm work. Feeding poddy calves or clearing dams in preparation for rain took precedence over English assessments and science assignments.
On a typical day, she wasn’t getting a chance to open her books until late in the evening, and with only one computer at home, it wasn’t always available for her to complete school work. Her family’s internet connection was also a problem.
Up until midnight and rising at 6am the next day to do it all over again, her school work began to slide. This bright and capable girl was at risk of failing to fulfill her academic potential to pursue a career in agricultural science.
She applied for a scholarship, and with the Harding Miller Education Foundation, Emily will get access to the technology, dedicated support and financial assistance she needs to continue her education. With this support, she will be in a good place to be able to pursue to future career in agricultural science.
Saving others through a career in medicine
Our other scholarship recipient is a young refugee who is aspiring to study medicine in Coffs Harbour.
For Daniella, going to school in Australia is a world apart from the experiences she encountered growing up in Kenya and Rwanda. There, her father was aware of the importance of education for Daniella’s future success, but educational opportunities in her homeland were limited by poverty, not to mention the cultural expectations of her community.
While school itself was commonly little more than a group of children in basic buildings with dirt floors, whenever Daniella’s father’s basic income couldn’t stretch to cover education and schooling, the principal would simply send her home, fully disrupting her learning without a thought for her wellbeing.
Since arriving on our shores two years ago, Daniella’s eagerness to learn has been fulfilled in an Australian public-school environment. Enjoying modern learning facilities where she does not have to fear being sent home every day, she is excelling in her studies. Already, she is a star performer in English, but given her erratic schooling and learning of the past, she has much ground to make up is she’s going to boost her academic performance in maths and science.
With our support of the Harding Miller Education Foundation, we’re hoping Daniella will be able to make the most of her safe learning environment, and excel in all her studies, ultimately fulfilling her true potential.
We’re right behind the cause
I think everyone at imei was moved by Emily’s and Daniella’s stories, and can see the immense good our support of this foundation brings about. Marisa told us, the Harding Miller Education Foundation is currently supporting close to 300 scholarships, but in the future, they hope to support as many as 11,000 disadvantaged girls fulfil their academic potential.
I know the whole team at imei is right behind this cause, and I’m so proud of the contribution everyone makes.