Creating a not-for-profit is an incredibly noble pathway to undertake. However, as LiteHaus founder – Jack Growden – explains, it’s also a very daunting and lonely experience. So why take this path and how can a single coin change a child’s schooling experience?
After attending a United Nations-hosted conference in Bangkok, Jack Growden was inspired by the dozens of people under thirty who had started a not-for-profit and seen immense success.
Jack used the knowledge gained while studying his thesis – which looked at the difficulties that remote communities face when it comes to education – as his inspiration and chased an idea that many before him had failed to bring to life.
“My father, a successful entrepreneur and great supporter of LiteHaus, said to me at the beginning, ‘this sounds great, so why doesn’t everybody do it?’ I answered, ‘because they see the red lights and stop’. It can be a daunting and lonely experience running a not-for-profit, especially one of our nature, which is essentially an international aid agency. Thankfully I have a wonderful team and I’m blessed with the courage to persist until the light turns green,” Jack says adamantly.
Jack recently travelled to the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea with his partner and secretary, Lauren Tenardi, who he says has been with him every step of the way. Whilst there, Jack says he was astounded and humbled by the strong intent these children had when it came to education.
“Having travelled across many developing countries, one becomes accustomed to beggars. These children had no time for begging, they were determined to learn. They did not need to read the 18,000 words of my thesis illustrating the value of education; they vocally expressed how important their education was. I guess that’s why some of them walk for three hours in the monsoonal rain over undulating terrain every morning just to reach school,” says Jack, who goes on to talk about the opportunities that await them in the future.
“If you asked the children themselves, they would tell you they are going to be engineers and doctors and lawyers. My thesis research found that around 75% of the community were not employed in the paid sector however, almost 100% of the community works on subsistence farming activities. Industriousness is embedded into the local culture, however quality primary education certainly holds the key to progressing into sectors such as nursing, trade skills and teaching. LiteHaus is not here to rescue these children, but here to help create opportunities so the children can reach their full potential.”
Businesses such as F45 Townsville City – who contributed half of the stationery project budget to LiteHaus – Arid 2 Oasis Traffic Solutions – who contributed several laptops – Komatsu Townsville – who contributed a USB stick for every child – and many more jumped on board to provide what Jack says was a standout memory.
“Standing there presenting the masterpiece of all of our dreams, ambitions, sponsors, donors, board members and collective hard work to almost 500 people at the Kuta Primary School was remarkable. It is testament to the notion that effort defines all. We dreamed, we tried, we succeeded,” Jack says, beaming with pride.
Jack says he is incredibly excited for the future as interest for LiteHaus grows in both the public and business sector, saying that while in-kind donations such as second hand laptops and desktop computers are immensely valuable, it takes as little as one dollar to potentially change the future for one of these children.
“The smallest donation can make the world of difference on our scale,” says Jack. “A gold coin can sponsor the entire contents of a child’s stationery kit through LiteHaus – a gold coin.”
To know that the generosity of our North Queensland businesses has not only changed the schooling lives but potentially empowered the educational future of a child is astonishing and a testament to both LiteHaus and those who helped along the way.