Law student named NSW Young Woman of the Year
An 18 year old law student from the University of Western Sydney has been named the 2014 New South Wales Young Woman of the Year for her initiatives to provide underprivileged communities with computers and IT skills.
Second year International Studies and Law student Lakshmi Logathassan was announced the winner of the award by NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell at a ceremony in Sydney today.
The daughter of Sri Lankan migrants, Lakshmi developed the ‘Laptop Project’ to send government-funded laptops from graduating high school students to rural and remote schools in Kenya and Sri Lanka.
Now in its third year, the Laptop Project has expanded across Sydney and more than 250 laptops have been donated to schools in need.
Last year, Lakshmi helped spearhead proposals to collect funding from local councils for the ‘Laptops for IT Training Program’ to teach newly-arrived migrants computer skills.
During her summer break, she also conducted English workshops in rural schools in Sri Lanka, and continues to work with the teaching staff to develop an English teaching program tailored to the students in the region.
“It was such a wonderful honour to have even been selected as a finalist, so to have won is incredible,” she says.
“This award is such an unexpected recognition for the projects I have undertaken, and it further fuels my passion to keep working in this area.”
Lakshmi is part of The Academy at the University of Western Sydney program, which develops future leaders by providing them with hands-on industry and community experience.
The Head of the Academy, Professor James Arvanitakis, says Lakshmi is a fine example of how the University’s students are driven to make a difference.
“The Academy is designed to help guide students as they engage with the organisations and communities that are close to their heart,” he says.
“Lakshmi’s work has now set a new benchmark for all our students who are working tirelessly to make a difference.”
The UWS Dean of Law, Professor Michael Adams, has congratulated Lakshmi on her achievement.
“On behalf of the School of Law I would like to pay tribute to Lakshmi,” he says.
“I’m so proud of the way she has used her time and skills to pursue social justice for people who are less fortunate than herself, and look forward to watching her develop into a lawyer to watch in the future.”
7 March 2014
Photos: Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph