Big sisters crave the next generation of women’s leadership

Vientiane, 31 March 2019 – Forty admiring women accomplished the goals of the Passing the Torch program and left the ceremony with a burning torch.

The Australian Government is honoured to support the Passing the Torch program, a 4-month project aiming to forge networks and linkages across generations of Lao women. The program matched senior and retired Australian Awards women alumni with Laos Australia National Scholarships alumni who graduated from The Next Generation (TNG) program, to mentor these younger women in finding their vision and achieving their career goals.

The finale event took place on a Sunday afternoon with a room full of devoted big sisters and enthusiastic little sisters. Many stories were shared among both groups of how they feel and what they have learned throughout the project. The program concluded with 18 CVs being developed or updated, many individual and group mentoring sessions occurred, seven work experience placements for the little sisters, including attending job interviews, personal development plan, creating linkages with potential employers, scholarship application, etc.

Although the ceremony was an official closing of the program, the two groups of sisters are committed to continuing their relationships. The big sisters already planned a group mentoring session for their little sisters to help improve their public speaking and communication skills. With these positive outcomes, they have proved that the investment the Australian Government has made in our alumni is valuable to their community and organisation, said Sophie Wilkinson, Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy.

“This program has built young women, especially the ones from provinces, to become more confident, knowledgeable and ready to be a game changer in their community as well as to raise awareness of women’s rights”, stated Ms Dockeo Phonthachit, Deputy Director of Planning Department, Ministry of Education and Sport.

The Australian Government is a long-term partner for human resource development in Laos, with annual Australia Awards Scholarships for Lao professionals and a program of engagement for alumni on return. For more information, contact the Laos Australia Institute on www.laosaustraliainstitute.org. The Laos Australia Institute team would also welcome feedback from Australian alumni on engagement with the Australian Government, to continually improve opportunities for Lao Australian alumni in Laos.

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