Donor Stories

ByLauren Jenkins

Combine Air Training & HMEF Fundraising Event

The Harding Miller Education Foundation was thrilled to be part of a fantastic fundraising event held on 18 March with Combine Air Training. The event was held at the Royal Oak Hotel in Balmain. Enormous thanks go to all the members, owners and organisers of this wonderful event. It was such a fun night and included a silent auction with prizes including football jerseys, colgate packs and even a home sauna!

The event also celebrated International Women’s Day and one of our alumni (Julina Lim) spoke about how the scholarship changed her life. Julina graduated from Cabramatta High School in 2020. She was an exemplary student who achieved outstanding results. She is currently studying Chemical Engineering at UNSW.

We are very excited that $10,770 was raised for the Foundation. A fabulous fun night was had by all and the money raised will go towards the sponsorship of high potential girls in the community. These funds will change these girls’ lives in overcoming hardship to achieve their academic potential and to build a prosperous and successful career. All donations and support of the Foundation is greatly appreciated and is contributing to our goal of achieving education equality in Australia. For more information about supporting HMEF please call 1300103896 or email [email protected]

ByLauren Jenkins

Thank you Rozelle Interchange for the fantastic charity drive for HMEF

HMEF were very proud to be a recipient from the Rozelle Interchange Project  Gives Back 2022 Campaign. The Project collectively with the community, staff, suppliers, client, independent certifier and generous subcontractors raised over $67,000.  A special mention to ARA & Cono Services who were “Sandstone Tier” donors, the highest level possible.

The monetary contributions received will support three 4-year scholarships to keep disadvantaged female secondary students in school through the Harding Miller Education Foundation.


We are very grateful for their generosity and kindness. Thank you to everyone involved for spreading some joy this end of year period.


ByLauren Jenkins

Meet Sietara (Tara) Mahshar

Meet Sietara (Tara) Mahshar

Tara commenced with the Harding Miller Scholarship program in 2018 and graduated last year. She was a high achieving student at Chifley College, Dunheved Campus. This is a school in Western Sydney with a very low socio-economic background. Her parents had limited English as they came from war-torn Afghanistan. Adapting to Australian life was hard for the family, due to their limited English and trauma they had endured as they had experienced war, upheaval and resettlement in a foreign country.

Tara was an exemplary scholar throughout the four years of the scholarship. She ended up being School Captain and Dux of her School in 2021. Tara is currently studying at the University of New South Wales and doing a Bachelor of Law, Bachelor of Politics, Philosophy and Economics.

Tara is an outstanding young women who is now mentoring students from her community. The scholarship has set Tara up for life and success. 

In her words:

“I’m currently in my first year of a Bachelor of Laws/Philosophy, Politics and Economics at UNSW. Despite my degree, I have a deep connection to Education because of the HMEF scholarship. As a young woman who comes from an Afghan background, education is very dear to me and the HMEF scholarship solidified this. This scholarship has encouraged me to do great things. It has boosted my confidence which allowed me to become School Captain in Year 10 and then again in Year 12. It led me to many leadership awards and involvement in programs such as the Youth Parliament. Most importantly, it has encouraged me to use education as a way to give back to my community. I grew up in a community where students are disadvantaged. Education can really help children overcome these disadvantages and I can confidently say that, with the help of HMEF, I am an example of a student who has overcome these disadvantages and challenges in my path. Now, I work at a low-socio economic school as a COVID tutor, giving other children a chance to shine, just like HMEF helped me shine. I am hopeful that this degree will help me to continue this work in the future. I am very grateful to HMEF because without them, I would not have had the confidence to do the work I have done up until now.” 

Year 9 photo

Tara now

We have shared Tara’s story because it was kind people like you that have changed her life through the Harding Miller Education Foundation. That is why we must continue to raise money to fund new scholarships so we can give high achieving girls like Tara the same opportunities. Will you help by donating now or sharing our story with colleagues, family and friends so we can continue to give worthy girls the same opportunity as Tara. We currently have 50 girls on our highly commended / waiting list for scholarships.

ByLauren Jenkins

Meet Isabella Ennever – Class of 2021 scholar


HSC HONOUR ROLE 2021 – Congratulations to Isabella who is a Distinguished Achiever (achieved a mark of 90 or above) in Biology, Investigating Science, Mathematics Extension 1 and Mathematics Advanced.



Isabella has just completed her HSC and was Vice Captain at Casino High School. She is an exceptional student and was placed first in all of her subjects and was dux of the year. Isabella has been awarded dux every year since Year 7. This year she also participated in Professor Henry Messel International Science School and the National Youth Science Forum.

Isabella is planning on being the first person in her family to attend university and has already received a conditional offer for Griffith University to study a Bachelor of Medical Science degree. In 2021, she participated in the Griffith University Future Leaders Retreat, received a Community Recognition Statement from the NSW Parliament for Academic and Leadership achievement, a Minister’s Award for Excellence in Student Achievement and was the Casino Lion’s Youth of the Year which recognises cultural, educational and leadership pursuits. In 2019, selected as 1 of only 16 students selected for a study tour on Lizard Island, She was the 2020 NSW Country to Canberra Award Winner, from Careers with Stem,

“The Harding Miller Scholarship has provided me with incredible financial support and security that has enabled me to better focus on my education and obtain a variety of academic goals. My success during high school, which was enhanced by the Harding Miller Scholarship and its role in reducing the financial pressure on my single-parent household, has given me the confidence and self-belief to follow a career in Aerospace Medicine. As well as the economic benefits, the laptop has allowed me to be efficient and organised with my schoolwork and has been a vital tool that has assisted me in excelling academically. For many years, the reliable data and the mobility of the laptop ensured that I was able to continue travelling around NSW and Queensland to compete in [sporting] events while not being disadvantaged with my education. Additionally, the Harding Miller Scholarship created many opportunities that has allowed me to overcome the physical barriers of living rurally and the low access to educational resources. Experiences such as the workshop with the Girls in Tech Movement has solidified my vision for a future in science and has broadened my perspective of science communication as a career pathway.”

Keep an eye out for Isabella in the future – we know she is destined for great things!

ByLauren Jenkins

Scholarship update

In 2021, the Foundation received over 550 applications from motivated girls in need of a scholarship. It has been a very rigorous and difficult task to select the scholarship recipients due to the high number of outstanding applications. Thank you to the judges who were part of this process.

We received applications from students in more than 200 schools located in every state and territory in Australia except the ACT. Of the new students awarded a scholarship:
• 19% are first nations girls
• 31% of the scholarships are based in rural and regional Australia
• 8% have experienced or are experiencing out of home care (foster care)
• 10% of the new girls have a refugee background from a total of 43% of the students who come from a family with non-English speaking background.

Thanks to the generosity of the donors, we are in a position to award 160 new scholarships. That means in 2022 the Harding Miller Education Scholarship Program welcomed the largest group of new students to the program bringing the total scholarship program to more than 510 students, which is a record for us.

All scholarship packs were sent out by early 2022. Each year we are adding options and resources for the students to enable them to further customise their scholarship to support them in the way that meets their needs and helps them achieve their ambitions.

In 2021, we added additional online and in person enrichment activities to the calendar, published a Year 10 subject selection guide, introduced career profiling for Year 11 students and provided a new membership to Study Work Grow career resource to all year groups. It is also the second year accessing Study Skills, JobJump and our HMEF APP. Pascal Press have also donated $60 or $100 vouchers to all of the students for the 2nd consecutive year. These tools are added to our existing scholarship offering which includes a high quality laptop, data, remote IT support, tutoring, a prepaid card for school expenses, online homework help and, very importantly, support from a volunteer personal coach.

Last year also saw some active involvement from our Alumni, including the launch of ARK (Anti-Racism Kit) by Sabina Patawaran who was one of our 2020 graduates from Riverside Girls High School in Sydney. It is a toolkit of strategies and information to help high school students understand racism and combat it within their communities. It is also aimed at creating change within their schools.

We recently held our Scholarship Award ceremonies for our Year 9 scholars. These award ceremonies were held in Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane. We had some inspiring keynote speakers, the scholars took part in exciting events and workshops and they all met new friends.

Cara Varian, Executive Director of Harding Miller Education Foundation, gave a motivating speech emphasising the importance of scholars making the most of all the opportunities they are offered through their scholarship and encouraging them to create their own peer network by staying in touch and supporting each other.

We are very proud of all our scholars and look forward to supporting them on their journey with the Foundation.

ByLauren Jenkins

Rozelle Interchange Project site visit

On Monday, 22 November 2021, we were invited to have a tour of the Rozelle Interchange Project which connects the extended M4 and the New M5 to the Anzac Bridge and Victoria Road in Sydney. The interchange will be a new underground motorway interchange to the City West Link and provide an underground bypass of Victoria Road. The Rozelle Interchange Project are great supporters of the local community and businesses across Sydney.

The Rozelle Interchange Project have been generous donors of the Foundation and we are delighted that they have announced another full scholarship donation for 2022.

The site tour was a great afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended including our founders, Kim Harding and Irene Miller; our Scholarship Manager, Caroline Hill and HMEF scholarship student, Annabella Granato to whom Rozelle Interchange Project currently supports. It was wonderful to meet the project team including Steven Keyser, Project Director; John Crane, Support Services Director; Steve Kiddle, Surface Works Director; Sara Galloway, Senior HR Advisor and Stephen Antonopoulos, Communications Manager.

We are so very grateful to our fabulous donors, like the Rozelle Interchange Project, as without them we could not support our girls in overcoming hardship to achieve their academic potential and to build a prosperous and successful career.

ByLauren Jenkins

Supporting Queensland Girls Education

Supporting Queensland Girls To Excel

It’s not by chance that the Quinn Femelle Foundation, a Queensland based private, family foundation chose to collaborate with Harding Miller. They were actively researching Australian scholarship programs that would focus on providing  educational support for girls across Queensland – high potential girls that is, who are from low socio economic circumstances. 

Harding Miller, established in 2015 is the premier scholarship program for girls across Australia. It is the most generous academic program of it’s kind, having awarded over 600, 4 year, $20,000 scholarships to girls since inception. HMEF has built a model that empowers philanthropists to make a valuable and evidence base difference through their giving. It is unquestionable and identified by the UN sustainable development goals, that supporting the next generation  of women to advance will see future systemic and societal improvements globally.

Harding Miller is focused on establishing formidable partnerships that aim to rewrite the future for Australian girls in need.  We are an Australian Public Benevolent organisation established with the clear purpose to show indisputable impact, both for our scholars and at the broader systemic and societal level. Deep, inter-generational, positive impact – we’re in it for the long haul, says Cara Varian, HMEF’s Executive Director.

2020 was the first year of the HMEF/Quinn alliance which resulted in 25 Queensland state school students beginning their 4 year, $20,000 scholarships in Year 9. In 2021 the Quinn’s supported 30 more girls and every year for the foreseeable future, Queensland will see at least 25 girls a year receive these life changing opportunities.

One of the Quinn Femelle scholars is Kya Dulhunty from Bribie Island State High School. “The school award I received for 2020 was the Academic Excellence Award. This is awarded to the top 10% of students at each year level. ” Kya wants to study Anthropology at University and is a straight A student.

Scholarship support begins with the essential tools and resources needed to make the most of their education. “It’s a fallacy that public education is free, says Cara, the cost of technology, data, textbooks, uniforms, school excursions, sport participation and other extra curricular activities all adds up and can easily enter the thousands of dollars. Multiply that by the number of siblings in the family and suddenly the financial strain for some families becomes untenable and its the kids that miss out who suffer the most.

ByLauren Jenkins

What Is A Corporate Scholarship – Tell Me More!

What Is A HMEF Corporate Scholarship?

We’d like to introduce you to one of our corporate donors, Online Marketing Gurus

In 2020 OMG partnered with HMEF to establish the ‘Online Marketing Gurus Education Scholarship’ for bright disadvantaged girls in government high schools across Australia. 

Through their generosity two incredible young women are now entering their second year of a HMEF scholarship and absolutely nailing their studies!

Congratulations Khawlah and Britany.

Interested in getting your business involved with Harding Miller? Click here for more information and to make an online enquiry, 

ByLauren Jenkins

HMEF Business Donor – Australian Wedding Rings

A small business owner makes a big impact through educational support

We’d like to introduce you to one of our small business donors, Alex Hernandez from Australian Wedding Rings.

Watch this video to learn more about Alex and the reasons why she donates to HMEF. 

Interested in getting your business involved with Harding Miller? Click here for more information and to make an online enquiry, 

ByLauren Jenkins

The HMEF Team Raises Support In the 2020 Virtual City2Surf

The HMEF gals raising $$ for a 2021 scholarship

We donned our best sports wear and hit the inner west of Sydney to run a combined 14kms in the virtual City2Surf.

Our efforts were not in vain with an end result of just under $1K towards a scholarship for 2021. 

Just in case you need an introduction – the lady in red is our leader, Cara Varian and from the right we have Caroline Hill, Patricia Glackin, Lisa Wood and Melinda Zanello.

Together we are in our fifth year of operating the Harding Miller scholarship program across Australia.