No dress­ing up her gen­eros­ity

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Tim Mayne

WHILE some school kids may moan about their homework, Penrhos Col­lege Year 12 stu­dent Ju­lia Beard is determined to make ed­u­ca­tion ac­ces­si­ble to those who may oth­er­wise not have the priv­i­lege.

The 16-year-old stu­dent re­cently raised more than $3000 to help ed­u­cate girls in Sierra Leone, enough to pro­vide ed­u­ca­tion to at least 10 girls.

The West African coun­try was plagued by a civil war, which ran for 11 years and re­sulted in 1270 pri­mary schools be­ing de­stroyed in the re­sult­ing car­nage, leav­ing more than two-thirds of all school-aged chil­dren with­out an ed­u­ca­tion.

A sig­nif­i­cant re­build­ing pro­gram went ahead when the war ended in 2002 but there is still a short­age of schools and teach­ers in the coun­try, with twothirds of Sierra Leone’s adult pop­u­la­tion suf­fer­ing from il­lit­er­acy.

Ju­lia or­gan­ised the lo­cal fundraiser with the help of Curtin Uni­ver­sity’s Out­door Com­mu­nity Cinema over Easter screen­ing the film Fer­ris Bueller’s Day Off, with all pro­ceeds go­ing to the cause.

She came up with the ti­tle of “One girl’s char­ity: do it in a dress pro­gram” en­cour­ag­ing oth­ers to be­come en­thu­si­as­tic about pro­mot­ing world­wide ed­u­ca­tion for young women.

The ‘Do it in a dress’ web­site states that 66 mil­lion girls around the world are not in school, sim­ply be­cause they were born a girl.

Ju­lia shares her fundrais­ing in­ter­ests with some big names, in­clud­ing Oprah Win­frey, who has raised more than $3 mil­lion for the cause.

“Mid­way last year I saw that only one in six girls is cur­rently ed­u­cated in Sierra Leone and I wanted to do some­thing to change that statis­tic, be­cause I know how im­por­tant ed­u­ca­tion can be in a de­vel­op­ing coun­try,” she said.

For now, Ju­lia in­tends to con­tinue her fundrais­ing ef­forts in be­tween her stud­ies.

“One day I would love to move into pol­i­tics or diplo­macy and in­ter­act with the global com­mu­nity, par­tic­u­larly with third world coun­tries, to see how I can help out,” she said.

To view Ju­lia’s fundrais­ing page, visit www.doiti­nadress.com/ju­lia-beard.

Penrhos Col­lege Year 12 stu­dent Ju­lia Beard is help­ing to ed­u­cate chil­dren in West Africa.

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