Women's Day 2022
Nollaig Hulme and Paula Quigley from Team SERVE share their thoughts on a few of the inspiring women they know who break the bias every day.
I met Diep Thu Hien, Trần Lý and Nguyễn Phương Anh in 2019 at the airport in Hanoi after days of travelling. Their friendly faces represented the Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS). Little did I know they would soon become inspirations. I learnt all about these three women and their lives while they grew up in various parts of Vietnam.
In rural parts of Vietnam, although education is highly valued, it is not very accessible due to extreme poverty. With help from CSDS’s Bright Future Fund (BFF), Lý was supported to further her education, an opportunity that is rare where Lý grew up. During the month, Lý spent time encouraging the students in Văn Tố, particularly the young girls, to not give up on their education.
Phương Anh’s interest in the English language shone through while working with the kids in Văn Tố and 3 years later she still works to inspire people to continue learning.
Hien has an extremely unique way of looking at the world and is determined to have a positive impact on those around her. She is very aware on her environmental impact on the world and at the time she was trying to convince her mother who is a shop-keeper to use less plastic.
Diep Thu Hien, Trần Lý and Nguyễn Phương Anh are inspirational women and they continue to inspire those around them and break the bias of gender equality in education.
– Thoughts from Nollaig Hulme, Team SERVE
Edwina Quialquial and I first met in 2009, during my first volunteer trip to the Philippines. I was immediately drawn to her charisma and have a great deal of admiration and respect for her dedication to the Badjao Tribe community to this day. She is one of those people who sticks with you.
Since 2003, Edwina has been a member of the Presentation Sisters Nano Nagle team in the Badjao Tribe of Mambaling, Cebu. She was teaching in a tent at the time, and she carried her teaching supplies in backpacks to get the job done.
Her fundamental belief is that education is the key to overcoming poverty and creating a better future for all, while also respecting the Badjao Tribe’s history, culture, and values.
Education in the community must always prevail, regardless of what comes their way, whether it is a damaged classroom from a fire or a typhoon, tribal customs that may discourage young people from attending school, or a global pandemic.
She is always there for the community, no matter what else is going on in her life. She is more than an educator; she is a friend and a well-known figure in the community, whether she is packing emergency supplies and handing out water containers or fighting for their basic human rights with local government officials.
There are no limits to what this powerful woman can accomplish, and I am honoured to call Edwina a friend and to have the opportunity to work with her.
– Thoughts from Paula Quigley, Team SERVE