A CHARITY founded by an Oxford University student wants to raise enough money for two women from developing countries to study in the city.
One Woman a Year International (OWAY) needs to raise £155,000 for each of the students by mid-April to pay for the two scholarships at Oxford University.
The charity, which was founded in 2011 by DPhil Chemistry student Jessica Lam, is aiming to raise some of the money itself, but is looking for donors and businesses to offer financial support to allow Ashfa Bashir and Thitapa Haritaworn to study in Oxford.
Miss Lam said: “We have received word from the senior tutors and admissions office that five girls from developing countries have been admitted to Oxford and two are in financial need.
“One student’s family from Pakistan earns a total income of £17,000 and another family from Thailand earns £20,000 per year. This supports them and their relatives. The cost of attending Oxford is over seven times these incomes and thus without our support it will be very difficult for them to afford to go to Oxford.”
Miss Bashir from Pakistan has been admitted to Christ Church College to study Experimental Psychology, while Miss Haritaworn from Thailand will study law at St Edmund’s College.
Miss Lam said: “Our long-term aim is to enable young girls from the poorest and most exploited regions of the world, currently these are those under armed conflict, situations of violence, and natural disasters, as listed under the International Red Cross, as well as aboriginal people in North America and Australia to eventually obtain the capabilities of making competitive and successful applications to fully-funded undergraduate degrees at the top institutes around the world.”
The priority of the charity is to find patrons for the two young women, but Miss Lam also hopes that OWAY can rebrand itself as an advocacy group.
Volunteers and former Oxford University students Tess Woolfenden and Nina Landale have organised a film screening of the documentary film Girl Rising as a celebration of next month’s International Women’s Day.
The documentary, which will be screened at the Friends’ Meeting House in Charlbury on Friday, March 14, at 7.30pm, presents the stories of nine girls and the way education has transformed their lives.
Narrated by film stars Liam Neeson and Meryl Streep, the film highlights the importance of womens’ education.
Miss Woolfenden said: “It is the first year that we have been able to get the pilot project up and running. We’re trying to raise that money for the students and it is a really exciting time for us. We have big dreams for the charity.”