Mallika Paulraj

I have two daughters currently at Sydenham High School in years 2 and 5 and we chose to give to the hardship appeal earlier this year as it seemed like a small way of helping during the pandemic.

The aspect of the GDST’s mission that is most important to me is its focus on education for girls. Education for girls has only been prioritised in the last century – primarily because females were viewed as the means of reproduction whereas males were the means for production. We have a more equal society now, but a legacy in underinvestment in girls’ education. Without the institutions and resources built up over centuries, girls (in the UK especially) are at a disadvantage.

When it comes to raising funds for bursaries and hardship, I think people are very happy to donate to something they view as very tangible – it is far harder to build endowments in perpetuity.

I went to school and university in the United States and I would love to see the spirit of giving back to your school introduced and impressed upon pupils whilst they are students. In the States, I knew from day one that it was hoped I would give back to my institutions once I was earning, even if just a modest amount.

Personally, I believe we are moving towards being a society that has equality of opportunity and obviously the distribution of bursaries and hardship should be a fair process. I think ethnicity alone should play little importance in awarding bursaries – my daughters are part of a minority, but they have so many advantages and resources that the average British girl is unlikely to have.

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