The Loreto Australia and South East Asia Province is delighted to present a monthly justice-related article by our youngest ever authors: Amelia, Anna, Lara and Portia from Loreto Normanhurst. These Year 6 students participated in a recent Loreto Justice Network webinar to celebrate the United Nations’ Day of the Girl. The webinar was attended by over 350 people, mostly Year 6 students from our five Loreto primary schools. The speakers included:
Rosalina Belo | Loreto novice living in Bacau, Timor Leste
Carina Ford | Loreto Toorak past pupil and current parent; immigration lawyer and advocate for the Murugappan family
Fiza Khosla | Community Engagement Co-ordinator, Mary Ward International Australia
Leonela Tilman | Loreto novice living in Bacau, Timor Leste
The webinar was hosted entirely by our students, who acted as MCs, led the prayer and acknowledgement of land, provided a context to the UN’s Day of the Girl, offered thanks and produced thought-provoking questions.
Our future is definitely in good hands!
It was wonderful to join together with our Loreto Schools all around Australia for the Day of the Girl webinar.
We were deeply moved by what we witnessed during the webinar and equally amazed by the incredible work of Mary Ward International Australia who have made a real difference in the lives of so many.
We were so shocked and deeply devastated at the troubles women across the world go through, but were even more surprised about what the younger girls face. It was truly upsetting to hear the stories about what young girls go through during their lifetime from the true words of individual survivors.
It is so hard to hear about the diligent working girls in the brick fields of India. It’s just not right that young girls spend hours working because their families are desperate. We are so lucky we can enjoy life and our valuable childhood without having the burden of hard work to pay for our survival. In India all the men and boys get the privileges, such as the beds, better food and a proper education.
In Timor Leste, girls spend hours walking to school over the mountains. They only spend half the day at school because of the challenge of not having quick transport. Many stay in the city with other family members and have to cook and clean before going to school until they could afford to stay somewhere else. We felt very guilty as we are so fortunate in Australia and we reflected on how important it is to appreciate the smaller things. It was heart-breaking to hear that so many girls are forced to live with their boyfriends to survive and end up becoming pregnant at a very young age.
We were shocked to hear the story about the Murugappan family from Sri Lanka. Thankfully they are now in Australia, safe, happy and learning. We hope they will be able to return to their community at Biloela.
Many girls across the globe do not have access to digital technology, which prevents them from being supported and assisted. This just shows how privileged we are, not just as Loreto girls to live in such a rich country, and we wish we could do more to help these disadvantaged and marginalised girls.
We came together as followers of Mary Ward to learn about the injustices that girls in today’s world face. Mary Ward International Australia (MWIA) has worked tirelessly with dedication and effort to improve the lives and futures of girls all over the world. MWIA supports local projects that provide educational, employment and leadership opportunities. They are helping girls’ struggles become visible to the world.
Authors: Portia Rowland-Stefanic, Amelia Moyes, Annie Goodall and Lara Vuckovic | Year 6 Students, Loreto Normanhurst, Sydney