Author Archives: Lauren Jenkins

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

Teens in Business Awards – Pivoting Pioneer Finalists!!!

Rim Elnabouche a year 12 scholar and Khawlah Albaf a year 10 scholar both recently entered their business ideas and concepts into this year’s Teens in Business Awards. The Teens in Business Awards are run by a coalition of three entrepreneurial education experts – the Young Change Agents, Bop Industries and Tech Girls Movement Foundation. You can find out more by visiting their website here.

Both scholars won a spot on the top 5 finalist list for the Pivoting Pioneer Award. The Pivoting Pioneer Award recognises entrepreneurs who have had to pivot to evolve their business model based on validation or the changing world.

Both scholars were given the opportunity to pitch their business ideas to an audience at the x Sparkfest Event on Wednesday 20 October 2021. Unfortunately, neither of them went on to win the award but they both very graciously celebrated the award winner.

Rim’s business is called Build My Event, you can find out more by visiting the website here.

Khawlah’s business is in collaboration with her younger brother and is called BrotherSista Bubble Tea.  You can find out more by visiting the Instagram page here.

We would like to take this opportunity to say congratulations to Rim and Khawlah.  Go girls!!

ByLauren Jenkins

NAIDOC Week 2021 – 4 to 11 July 2021

During NAIDOC Week, we are celebrating the achievements of our First Nations Scholars and Alumni from across Australia!

Pictured above – Year 9 QLD Scholars Alexis Fisher, Lara Parter & McKenzie Dempsey 

We are shining a spotlight on Kawana Crowe, one of our First Nations alumna, who is originally from Nambucca Heads; Nambucca Heads is the current and historical homeland of the Gumbaynggirr people. Kawana is one of our scholars from our first graduating class in 2019.

Kawana’s achievements are numerous. She is the first in her immediate family to go to University. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Science/ Bachelor of Advanced Studies majoring in Genetics, Genomics, and Chemistry at the University of Sydney.

Kawana is part of the University of Sydney Dalyell Scholars Honors Group, and she was awarded a University of Sydney Early Offer Scholarship, valued at $5950. She was also awarded the University of Sydney Indigenous Entry Scholarship, valued at $10,000, and the Mana Yura Accommodation Award, valued at $18,000.

Kawana plays a key role in our alumni program, often attending events with Harding Miller’s staff to speak about her Harding Miller Scholar experiences.
Kawana has also taken on the following roles, Student Ambassador and Student Leader at University; she was recently involved in welcoming and speaking to a group of Year 12 Harding Miller Scholars who attended a Future Friday event at the University of Sydney in March.

Kawana is on target to reach her goal of becoming become a Scientist, and we couldn’t be prouder!!!

ByLauren Jenkins

2021 Brisbane Awards Night

Congratulations to our year 9 Queensland scholars

2021 was the first year that HMEF has held an award ceremony outside of NSW.  2020 was a delayed year given the challenges of the pandemic but 2021 has given rise to a sensational event – full of excitement, positive energy, and fresh starts.

We loved being able to share the achievements of all of our Queensland year 9 scholars last Monday 21 June at the Annual Awards Ceremony at the State Library of Queensland – a fantastic venue.

We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all our QLD scholars, putting faces to names and seeing them engage with each other, their coaches, and the Harding Miller team.  We loved seeing them all get together from so many different schools, regions, and backgrounds.

Thank you to all the parents/guardians who joined the girls and helped make sure everything ran smoothly. We hope they enjoyed the evening also.

For those who were unable to attend, we hosted the event virtually as well.

ByLauren Jenkins


Our scholars are bursting with GIRL POWER!!

We asked our scholars about someone in their life who inspires them – someone who exerts GIRL POWER!! The responses were magnificent, everything from their mums, sportswomen, social activists, scientists, and poets.

Through our scholarship program, we hope to tell the world that well-resourced education with personalised support can break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

We know that diversity in leadership improves societal, commercial, and technical outcomes. Our program will translate to improved representation of women in Australian leadership. We hope that the HMEF program will produce future leaders across all sectors of society.

Our ambition is to have 8000 scholars on the program within the next two decades and to become an educational program leader that impacts future generations.

2021 Awards Night Scholars receiving awards
ByLauren Jenkins

Sydney Awards Night- A Great Success

Congratulations to our year 9 Sydney scholars

Last week was our sixth year of HMEF award ceremonies, and there is no doubt that they are the best night of the year for us but, more importantly, for our year 9 scholars.

2020 saw the Foundation host a virtual awards night for all scholars around Australia. While this certainly wasn’t the same as a face-to-face event, it still gave us a chance to celebrate with our newest scholars and welcome them into our community.

Given the interruptions of 2020 our May 2021 event at Sydney Town Hall, in collaboration with the Public Education Foundation was even more of a celebration of achievement, freedom through education, and excitement of the futures that behold all our scholars.

We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all our NSW and ACT scholars, putting faces to names, and seeing them engage with each other, their coaches, our donors, and the Harding Miller team.  

Thank you to all the parents/guardians who joined the girls and helped make sure everything ran smoothly. We hope they enjoyed the evening also.

For those who were unable to attend, we hosted the event virtually as well.

ByLauren Jenkins

Winner of a 2021 Impact 25 Award – Cara Varian

Congratulations Cara!

March 2021 has seen another milestone for the Foundation as our Executive Director, Cara Varian was named one of ProBono Australia’s Impact 25 for 2021. The list of award recipients is impressive and an indication of the enlightening and powerfully positive work our community is undertaking every day to improve our world.

A significant achievement for Cara and for the Foundation, this award highlights the social impact Cara and the Foundation is making in advancing the cause of education for girls across Australia. Here is a profile of Cara on the Impact 25 website – please have a read to learn more about our inspiring leader.

ByLauren Jenkins

Meet Felicity – A HMEF Coach and winner of a prestigious Gargi Woman Award for 2020

Our Felicity - winner of a 2020 Gargi Award for her contribution to education

Last Saturday the 17th of April the Hindu Council of Australia held their belated 2020 Gargi Awards for women’s contribution to society. 

It was a superb afternoon of magnificient Indian dancing, delicious Indian cuisine and fabulous company made all the more memorable as our longest standing volunteer, Felicity Kean was awarded the Gargi award in recognition of her outstanding contribution to education in Australian. 

Melinda Zanello from the HMEF accepted the award in Felicity’s absence but she was definitely there in spirit.

Felicity has worked tirelessly over the past five years as a
volunteer for the Harding Miller Education Foundation in the capacity of a personal coach and student support to hundreds of young girls from significantly disadvantaged backgrounds.

In addition to her direct impact on our scholars, Felicity has been a public advocate and ambassador for the HMEF program for years. She has donated significantly to our cause but more importantly she has enabled others to give and support girls within their communities. The compounding impact of this is that more disadvantaged young women are completing high school, moving on to tertiary study and breaking the cycle of poverty across Australia.

The knowledge that Felicity has about the education system, it’s complications, value and how young women develop through their educational journey is an asset to not only the Foundation but to the Australian community.

We currently have all our coaching positioned filled for 2021 but if you are interested in learning more about opportunities in 2022 please register here.

ByLauren Jenkins

Let’s celebrate girls around the world in shaping a more equal future

Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world

It’s at the heart of everything HMEF does and why we exist – to enable the future female leaders of Australia to build a better world. It’s simple  – empowering the next generation of women to reach their potential and forge futures with no limitations benefits everyone the world over.

Our strongest example of this is the fact that the Australian of the year, the senior Australian of the year, the young Australian of the year and the local hero for 2021 are all women – women who are passionate, educated and driven to ensure that the next generation have a safer journey to success than they did and that their families, their children and their children’s children understand the sacrifices made to rewrite the future for girls across Australia.

For HMEF the two women who we believe are extraordinary visionaries are our Founders Kim Harding and Irene Miller. It is because of their hearts, minds, deep passionate for education and belief in girls potential than over 600 outstanding young women from low socioeconomic circumstances are seeing their futures brighten through education. The vision is to have 8000 girls receive HMEF scholarships over the next  two decades and we are well placed to make this a reality (meet our team who are making this happen).

March 8 2021 is International Women’s Week and the theme this year celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future. Women bear the brunt of problems ranging from poverty to climate change, but they also possess assets and talents to solve them. (source).

To celebrate this day HMEF in collaboration with EY are hosting an event on Friday the 12th of March to celebrate our first two years of the HMEF alumni program, who are now forging careers across a variety of sectors.

The keynote speaker for this event is Jo Masters, EY’s Chief Economist Oceania in 2019. Her passion for economics stems from her commitment in providing businesses with deep insights to the economy on a macro-level and what it means for them. She has been a part of the economic discussion in Australia for over 20 years and is a trusted advisor in economic and policy issues nationally, and on a global scale. Prior to EY, Jo was a senior economist at ANZ and spent over a decade at Macquarie Bank. She is a Member of the Committee for Economic Development Australia’s (CEDA) Council on Economic Policy, as well as an Executive Member of the Australian Business Economists and sits on the Advisory Board for the Financy Women’s Index.

Jo is a champion of driving women’s equality in the workforce and holds a strong passion for developing female financial literacy as well as promoting economics to young Australians. She believes economics is relevant and relatable to everyone in the community, and uses her public platform to encourage interest in the importance of understanding the impact of the macro-economy. Jo is committed to giving back to the community and has been involved with Gold Week at the Sydney Children’s Hospital, FoodBank and The Smith Family.

Jo has a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) from The University of Auckland, where she was awarded the Senior Prize in Economics. She also has a Master of Economics from The University of Sydney.