the story so far
In 2018 at the age of just 13 Katura Halleday went on a trip to Africa, to make a documentary about a school in Beria, Mozambique. This opportunity was life changing.
The drastic difference between educational opportunities in Australia compared to Africa was eye opening and forever left an impression on this young teenager. How could the world treat children so unfairly, with so little assistance or resources available especially to girls in Africa. Prior to the trip, as an Australian child Katura just didn’t realise the inequity of the wealth of materials and resources available to her and her peers. Educational equality became her life.
She set out to make a difference to these girls' lives. She was but one small person herself, but we are consistently told, even one person can make a big impact. She set out to prove it true.
Initially her work was around collecting goods she knew were needed, from computers to school furniture, books and school supplies. Even building materials to help with repairs and building of the school. These supplies were shipped over to Mozambique. She realised though that more needed to be done.
She needed to set up a sustainable resource to help. Katura established a small art award to raise funds for the educational support of a small group of girls in Mozambique. Their needs, she discovered, are not always as typical as we would assume. The real issues are often not so simple and require creative thinking to solve. For example – “I don’t have any way to pay for a uniform, and without a uniform I cannot go to school.” Or “I have to walk 20km to get to the school.” Or “My father doesn’t rate my education, because women in our culture just care for families, and do not work.”
The Art Awards, is now in its forth year and she has expanded the way she raises funds to include two more income streams, a novel and speaking engagements. The little group of girls she initially sponsored has now grown into a scholarship program and expanded into Tanzania, where she educates girls from secondary school to university.
She understands that to make change and lasting cultural difference we need strong, educated women involved in Business, Politics and as leaders in their communities but they need education to fulfil their dreams.
Part of this journey, has been a constant learning about the ways of a culture quite different to our own. It has been about trying to understand the nature of the real problems facing these kids, and not the ones we assume to know. This has lead her to develop a program with a school teacher and student 8x8 sponsors, to hand out reusable sanitary products to girls who otherwise miss up to ¼ of a school year and to provide education about the reproductive system. This helps to reduce unwanted pregnancy and even just the basics about menstrual health and hygiene lessons is life-changing for girls who otherwise would have no access to this information.
The experience has forever shaped how Katura sees the world, and now she is fearlessly empowered to forge a way for change. She has taken her message to the United Nations in New York to address Members of state, spoken in Russia, Indonesia, India, Malaysia and here in Australia and is convinced that if we all actively do something we can solve Educational Equality. There is an old African proverb that says
If you want to go quickly go alone but if you want to go far go together!
She is determined to unite the world in the desire to ‘GO FAR’.