Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
While she can’t focus the world’s attention on Africa like George Clooney or Angelina Jolie, a young woman from Pymble is marshaling help from young Australians to make a serious difference to the lives of thousands of children living in poverty by establishing EducateEmpowerChange Australia.

Twenty six year old Lara Warren first visited Tanzania in 2003 when she completed an internship with the United Nations and volunteered on educational projects in her spare time. Shocked by what she saw, and determined to make a difference, Warren returned to Oxford to complete her studies in Law, but her heart remained in Africa. “There is nothing more heartbreaking than seeing innocent children affected by poverty. It’s painful and real, and I needed to do something about it”.

Whilst in the UK, Warren rallied support and raised funds for projects she would undertake during her summers in Tanzania. “I chose to focus my efforts on providing an education to the most underprivileged children in the region” says Warren “Education is the catalyst in breaking the cycle of poverty, it makes for a more skilled and productive workforce, and helps build a better society. It is the only long term, viable solution”.

In the rural areas where Warren works, families stay poor for generations due to a lack of educational opportunities and a lack of clean water. Children are often absent from school because they are scavenging for water, and when they are at school, they don’t have classrooms, textbooks, uniforms, or pencils. What little money families have is spent on food. Surviving takes precedent over education.

In 2010, Warren moved back to Tanzania and co-founded EducateEmpowerChange Australia (EECA), of which she is Executive Director, with friend and colleague, Elizabeth Noonan. EECA is a nonprofit that delivers educational projects to the most disadvantaged children and communities in Tanzania, and most recently South Sudan. “We adopt schools, and in turn, adopt whole villages” says Warren “we install rain-water harvesting systems in some of the driest regions in the country, which not only provides whole communities with the most basic of human needs, but allows children time to attend school”.

EECA also builds classrooms, provides textbooks and teaching resources, but most importantly trains teachers. “Providing infrastructure is great, but I’ve learned that it is even more important to build the capacity of the people you are trusting to provide a quality education to these children. You walk in to a lovely new classroom, but if you don’t have a good teacher, you’ll walk out none the wiser”. To date, Warren’s projects have touched the lives of over 3000 children in Africa.

Now back in hometown Pymble, Warren is rallying support to open the first Teacher’s Resource Centre in war torn South Sudan and establish the only teacher-training program in the country for secondary teachers. “South Sudan is recovering from four decades of civil war, and finally has a chance at peace and prosperity – but how are you going to rebuild a nation with an uneducated population?” she says with conviction “It seems so far away and so helpless but it’s not, anyone can make a real difference”.

Contact Profile

EducateEmpowerChange Australia

EducateEmpowerChange Australia (EECA) is an international humanitarian aid organization that works with regional and remote communities in developing countries to deliver sustainable capacity building initiatives that work exclusively to strengthen the deliverability of education to children who live in extreme poverty. By focusing on capacity building as opposed to providing direct education, EECA is determined to empower the communities we work in with the necessary skills to better themselves both independently and permanently. In developing partnerships with these communities we are able to create projects and policies in a truly equal partnership.

EECA envisages a just world where every citizen is equipped with the knowledge and comprehension to make well-informed and educated decisions that affect themselves, their livelihoods, and their surroundings. Our vision is to eradicate the unjust prevalence of poverty through circumstance.
Lara Warren
P: [email protected]
M: 0467557015
W: www.educateempowerchange.org


africa; education; tanzania; south sudan; charity



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