CAPTION: Left to Right – Mr Navin Raj (Principal Jai Narayan College). Eseta Nadakuitavuki (Westpac Manager Sustainability), Winners Mary Blakelock, Sera Kavekai,Raina Ram, Vasenai Lauta, Nirmala Nambiar (Head of Marketing), Adrian Hughes (General Manager, Fiji).
Westpac today announced the names of the successful applicants of the Westpac Women’s Education Grants at the Jai Narayan College. The program offers financial assistance to primary school, high school or secondary college girls and women studying at a tertiary institution or women currently working who wish to return to study.
This is the fourth time Westpac has offered 6 grants in Fiji. A total of 49 grants were made available across the Pacific region.
“Since we started our women’s grant program in 2011, more than 160 women and girls across the region have been able to stay at school longer through the financial assistance Westpac provided,” said Adrian Hughes ,General Manager Fiji. “In some cases, this financial aid could stretch up to three years and we think this makes a significant difference, not just for the woman or girl but for the benefit of the community.”
“Studies show time and time again that the greater the education of women and the more they participate in the economy, the more dynamic and more growth is experienced in that country. For the women and girls themselves, it’s not just about having a better education – it’s also about increased confidence and higher self esteem. Just as importantly, it’s sending a message to the community about gender equity and that women and girls have the right to education as much as men and boys.”
This year, Westpac received close to 400 applications, an increase of 29 per cent from the previous round last year. Judges awarded the grants based on responses to the question: “What are you doing to make a difference in your community? Why do you do this?”
“Our question this year really focused on how women and girls contribute to the community and how they’re becoming the leaders of tomorrow. We received some great responses,” said Mr Hughes. “We chose the following applicants for their excellent responses.”
Sera Kavekai and Raina Ram each win a grant of $500, while Adi Sereana Tuivanuakula and Sianiti Bulisala each win a grant of $1300. Meanwhile, Vasenai Lauta and Mary Blakelock each receive $3500 towards the cost of their education.
“Congratulations to our successful applicants and thank you to everyone who applied for a grant. We truly hope we’re making a difference to the successful women and girls who receive a grant and of course, to the development of our country too,” said Mr Hughes.
Westpac’s Pacific operations cover the Cook Islands, Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. There are more than 50 Westpac branches and agencies, 100 In-store Banking outlets and 100 ATMs throughout the Pacific.