Education has the power to change the world, and scholarships hold the power to change the course of your lives. Education for women is critical and scholarships can achieve that for all women. With strong educational backgrounds, women have the capacity to achieve their goals and create financial freedom for both themselves and their families. Isn’t that a perfect blend?
I have been awarded the opportunity to experience the life-changing impact a scholarship can have on one’s education. My life has been completely changed for the better because of a high school scholarship through the Harding Miller Education Foundation.
This is my story.
As a young woman in my family – which was going through a breakdown – life was challenging. I lacked considerable funds to spend on school necessities due to both of my parents being unemployed. My sister and I were previously a victim of a society in Pakistan that criticised girls and their right to education and de-motivated us from gaining further education. Moreover, most of the limited family funds would go towards my grandparents and two brothers who required constant medications for physical and mental difficulties. This meant that my four siblings and I had to be more responsible and miss out on opportunities other students had access to.
According to the Malala Fund, an organisation run by Malala Yousafzai which aims to bring awareness to the social and economic factors that impact girls’ education, there are over 130 million girls worldwide who do have access to any form of education. Although Australia is more privileged, with equal rights to education available to males and females, there are still many barriers preventing girls and women from pursuing and completing their education, which in turn prevents women from feeling empowered in life. These barriers include the cost of school fees, extra activities, uniforms, books and access to technology, difficulty getting to school due to distance or lack of transportation, financial conditions, difficult family situations, having refugee status, or being a victim of situations like domestic violence and abuse.
Another big influence in stopping girls from being able to reach their full potential include factors such as gender discrimination, which label females as primary caretakers that do not carry the responsibility to earn money. This shapes the values in our societies and influences people to pay special attention to men, enabling them greater status over women. Many women, especially in rural areas, have been denied the right to education and have been subjected to very degrading practices and responsibilities.
So, the question remains: is Australia all that better in providing equal education opportunities compared to other wealthy countries?
Luckily, there are Australian charitable organisations such as the Harding Miller Education Foundation that have the foresight to see the value in education to change the gender inequality issue through education. The HMEF scholarships provide disadvantaged girls like me with the tools and resources needed to not only complete high school, but achieve their full potential; enabling pathways to further education and brighter futures. They target high-potential female students experiencing personal or socio-economic disadvantages in high schools.
“The scholarship has had a major impact on not only my life, but my family’s as well; it has moulded me into a strong, resilient woman who finally has the chance to chase after her desires and offer help to her family.”
Luckily for me, I was able to apply for their scholarship. The only thing that kept me motivated in the face of all my struggles were the possibilities of being successful. Little did I realise that my hopes would soon be answered, and my life would take a turn for the best.
The scholarship has had a major impact on not only my life, but my family’s as well; it has moulded me into a strong, resilient woman who finally has the chance to chase after her desires and offer help to her family. The scholarship has granted me the opportunity to rise out of my living conditions and improve them by exceeding my academic potential through the resources included in the scholarship package.
This scholarship is a powerful tool which has empowered me to be proud and equal to my male counterparts. It has given me a voice and an opportunity to unlock my potential and demand change. It has made my dreams possible and offered me the support and comfort I need to establish a worthwhile career.
Every woman should be given the opportunity to pursue an education. Through platforms such as the Harding Miller Education Foundation, girls are given the opportunity to focus on and advance in their education. The financial assistance they provide enables students to undertake further education opportunities that may have otherwise been hard for them to access.
My advice to all the young girls in the world is to stand proud of their gender and to never underestimate their capabilities. Apply for as many scholarships as you can, and if you are a citizen of Australia, apply for a Harding Miller scholarship. Scholarships can open numerous doors for you: some you have never even thought of before.
HMEF was founded in 2015 by two long standing philanthropists in the area of girls education, Kim Harding and Irene Miller.
In 2015 they employed Cara Varian to start the operations of the Foundation and in 2016 they awarded they first scholarship. Since then the Foundation has awarded over 460 scholarships up until the end of 2019.
As a matriarchal foundation, the Quinn Femelle are focused on supporting women and the progress of equal opportunity for those who are disadvantaged across Australia. The Quinn Femelle PAF focuses on long-term sustainable goals that target the future prosperity of Australians and in particular Queenslanders.
Their priority areas are health, education as well as children and youth and their generosity is advancing the cause of women across all of these sectors of society.
HMEF has a range of large, medium and small donors. Our large donors typically support full scholarships valued at $20,000. This amount covers the costs of the scholarship over four years from Year 9 through to Year 12.
Full scholarship support enables our large donors the opportunity to meet their scholars, present them their scholarship certificates at their respective awards night (hosted in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) as well as participate in media opportunities. We have a collaboration with National media outlets that enable us to secure local community print and digital media for our scholars. It is also a wonderful opportunity for our donors to feel connected to their scholars from the get go.
Payment Options for large donors
Upfront payment of the full scholarship ($20,000). An example of this would be a $20,000 payment in 2021 for a scholar who starts the program in 2021 and graduates in 2024.
Pledged instalments over the four years of the scholarship ($5,000 per year per scholarship). The Foundation will invoice you at an agreed time for that year’s financial commitment. An example of this is a $5,000 payment each year from 2021 through to 2024 (being the final year that your scholar is on the program).
We offer all donors who cover the cost of a full scholarship naming rights for their scholarships. One example of this would be the Arnold Family Education Scholarship. This will then be displayed on your scholars certificates.
These naming rights reflect the commitment that these donors have made to the students and provide us a platform to recognise the significant contribution of these donors.
100% of every cent donated to the Harding Miller Education Foundation goes to the girls on the program. All operating costs are covered under a separate founding corpus.
The Harding Miller Foundation will match every full scholarship supported by a donor – effectively enabling two full scholarships in your name.
This is only available for full scholarship support,
We have a number of our donors who choose to support a full scholarship together with their family members.
This may be because they want to give back to a particular community or a girl from a particular background such as Indigenous or ATSI.
Each year they make payments totaling $5K. These can be made in one upfront payment or over the course of the year.
To find out more about our Family Scholarships support opportunities please call the HM office on 1300 103 896 and ask for our Fundraising Manager.
Regular donors, workplace giving donors and donors who give over $500 a year receive two donor updates on their scholars every year. These updates are based on the girls applications, surveys, program participation and engagement with their personal coaches and Foundation staff.
Our fundraising team works closely with our scholarship program team who are aware of donor supported scholars and provide me with updates on scholars’ success and engagement with the program across the year.
The level of detail and update information that our large donors request is varied – HMEF will identify with you upfront what your expectations are and will work with you to ensure a highly satisfied outcome. Our program is focused on impact and ensuring that our donors are taken on the journey of their scholars’ achievements and progress on the program.
There is clear evidence of the link between educating women and the alleviation of poverty in society. When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90% of it into their families, compared with 30-40% for a man. Girls face many barriers to getting an education that boys do not. Some of these include pregnancy, domestic and care responsibilities, and perceptions that education of girls is less valuable than education of boys. Educating women results in strong economies, reduced poverty for children and families and will have a signiﬁcant impact in reducing the gender gap and elevating women to an equal status of men in society.
Making a donation is easy. You can make a one off donation or set up a regular donation via the donation link on the website. Our fundraising team will then be in touch with you. Please note that donor updates are for donations made over $500, regular donors, workplace giving donors and full scholarship support.
For more information on the full scholarship and family scholarship options please call our office on 1300 103 896 and ask for our National Philanthropy Manager, Melinda Zanello.
Make a one-off donation online
Donations are tax-deductable with 100% going directly to the scholarship recipients.
Make a monthly donation online
Donations are tax-deductable with 100% going directly to the scholarship recipients.