Never underestimate a woman with a vision coupled with determination.
What an honour to be receiving this award on the 25th anniversary of Telstra Business Women’s Awards. Thank you, Telstra, for this amazing opportunity. I am grateful to my family and my team at Global Education Academy. Without you, I would not have been the recipient of this prestigious award.
I arrived in Australia on 7/7/2005 as a PhD student after living 17 years of domestic violence marriage. It was a cold winter that year. I had a few difficult years juggling studying, working two jobs and raising 3 children on my own. There were days when I could not afford to have food on the table, there were days when I had to walk long distances to save the bus fare for more essential things. I remember on a Monday after I picked the girls from school and took them to get glasses from Specsavers. I picked the cheapest possible choices, my daughter, Itar, who was 10 years old, asked me “Mama are we poor now?” “It is just for a while sweetheart.”, I replied. In that moment I promised her and myself that we will never struggle like this again.
I completed my PhD in 2008 and was offered a secured job at UNSW Global. I was happy for 5 minutes, then I realised that I am actually not using my research findings to help children learn more effectively and I was not making a difference. So in 2011 I exited the academia and established Global education Academy where I put theory into practice and see the positive and powerful impact we are making. We are making a difference every day.
I feel I was put on this earth for a purpose, having come through the difficulties, I believe I am unstoppable.
I am here on a mission:
I am here to de-stigmatise domestic violence. I refuse to use the word victim or survivor. I use defeater. Despite what I had to go through, I am here aspiring other women to act, be independent financially, emotionally and mentally.
I am here to emphasise the role of education, especially women’s education.
I am here to send a message to academics, get out of your comfort zone. Act on your research findings. I know that your secured tenure is not easy to resist, and 17% super is very attractive yet, what it would be if Maria Montessori just wrote an article about her findings. Imagine how wonderful our world would be if all academics put their theories into practice.
I am here to tell you that business is not just about the money, but also can be for a good cause. Up to date, at Global Education Academy we have helped thousands of students and families, including hundreds whom we offered free tuition. We have also paid the tuition fees for 659 months of high school for girls in Africa through the charity One Girl.
I am here to tell you it is not about how many times you fall; it is about how you rise and fly further. If I can do it, every woman can.