Each year the All Hallows’ School Community focuses its fundraising efforts on a particular project.
It was with much excitement and anticipation that our Social Justice Captains launched the 2021 Whole School Project, ‘Paving the Path’, at assembly on Friday 5 February 2021.
This year we have raised funds to support three mini projects, facilitated by Mercy Works, in Papua New Guinea (PNG). These projects are designed to support girls and women to foster their literacy and entrepreneurial skills so that they can become more productive and self-sufficient.
When formal education was first introduced in the 1960s and 1970s in PNG, only boys were allowed to go to school. Girls were to stay at home with their mothers. Sr Theresia Tina rsm notes that when the first Sisters of Mercy came to PNG from Australia, in 1956 to the highlands and in 1957 to the coast, they had to really stand their ground in order to take the girls as well as boys into the schools which they established. Very slowly, people began to recognise the importance of formal education, and girls were educated equally.
Despite advances in education in recent years, access to educational opportunities for girls and women in PNG is very limited. School is not compulsory in PNG and only two-thirds of girls go to primary school. 50% of female students finish school at the end of primary (Year 8) and only 40% of students who complete secondary school are girls. 40% of the adult female population is illiterate.
‘Paving the Path’ will support projects in the provinces of Kiunga, Simbu and Goroka.
The project logo, created by Year 12 student Bridget, references the highlands of PNG and suggests that through our work this year, we will assist in ‘paving the path’ to success for our sisters in the provinces.
At our Year 12 Final Assembly on Thursday 18 November 2021, the result of months of hard work in fundraising was revealed. 2021 School Captains, Katie Leader and Molly Manahan, proudly announced that those sausage sizzles, dress up days, bake sales and raffles enabled All Hallows' School to donate $40,000 to Mercy Works to fund projects in Papua New Guinea.
Staff at Mercy Works were unable to join us at the assembly due to border restrictions but they were overjoyed and very surprised that in a COVID year, the School community was able to raise so much money. In a video message (available to watch below), Sr Sally Bradley rsm and Sr Maryanne Kolkia rsm spoke about the difference these funds will make to so many communities in Papua New Guinea. Sr Maryanne spoke about the devastating impact of COVID on local communities and the dire need for food and medicine being experienced throughout the country. Our funds will assist women, in particular, to improve their literacy and entrepreneurial skills so that they can support their families.
This amazing total would not have been possible without the generosity, time, hard work and creativity shown by students, staff, parents and caregivers throughout the year.