Lakshmi Logathassan was the winner of the Harvey Norman Young Woman of the Year Award at the 2014 NSW Women of the Year Awards.
'Not many people have the good fortune of growing up in a country of freedom and equal opportunity. I am one of the lucky few – so why not make the most of my chance to help those less fortunate.'
Lakshmi Logathassan is a high-achieving law student from the University of Western Sydney who at just 18, dedicates her time to developing and implementing projects that provide access to education and promote the values of equality and a fair-go for all.
In 2012, Lakshmi seized her opportunity as School Captain of St George Girls High School to initiate the 'Laptop Project'. The project collects government-funded laptops from school-leavers and sends them to students in rural and remote schools in Kenya and Sri Lanka. What began as a school project in 2012 has now, in its third year, branched out as an inter-school initiative amongst several high-schools across Sydney. To date, 250 laptops have been donated, allowing thousands of students to gain access to a better education, and in turn, a world of possibilities.
Having heard of her parents' experiences as migrants, Lakshmi is aware of the various challenges that migrants face when adjusting to a new country. Last year, Lakshmi was a part of a team that successfully applied for the Holroyd City Council Community Assistance Program. The grant is currently funding the 'Laptops for IT Training Program' that aims to provide essential IT training to newly-arrived migrants.
In the summer of 2012-13, Lakshmi travelled to a rural area in Sri Lanka to run an English Fundamentals workshop, teaching the students how to speak and read English. She continues to work with the local schools to develop an English teaching program tailored to the students in that particular region. She has also volunteered with a number of charities including Amnesty International, Legacy and The Australian Red Cross.
Lakshmi's experiences have made her mindful of the fact that many young talents are unable to prosper simply because their circumstances fail to allow them to reach their full potential. Through her studies and community work, she hopes to slowly but surely reverse this situation.
In the future, Lakshmi hopes to combine her education in law with her passion for equality to continue to identify and address key areas of social imbalance. Her achievements highlight that with some confidence and enthusiasm, it is never too early to think big, set goals and make a positive difference.