Tena koutou katoa.

My name is Marian. It is a privilege and an honour to be standing before you this afternoon. Congratulations to all the awardees.   I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Trustees on behalf of all the awardees. Thank you to Stephanie Harris, Margaret Crannigan Allen, Dame Charmian O’Connor, Sonia Pechner, Jill Smith, Hilary Lewis, Professor Linda Bryder, and the General Manager of the Trust, Nina Tomaszyk .  Because of you we are here today celebrating our incredible achievements.  I would also like to thank the awards coordinator Dr Katrina Ford for her hard work, and to thank every single person who has made today possible. 

Marian Hassan – Awardee Speaker 2021 Award Ceremony

I am a former refugee; I came to New Zealand when I was 10 years old and I have been here for over 20 years.   When I came to New Zealand, I could not speak English; I could not read or write. I feel privileged to have been educated in New Zealand because had I been in my home country, Somalia, I certainly would not have had that opportunity.

My education journey would be very different if it were not for the support of my family, especially my mother, who is in the audience today. She would stay up every night for me until I came home from uni. Sometimes it was very late at night, but she would still be awake waiting for me.  She always reminded me to look after myself and to look after my mental health.  Unfortunately, my mother did not get the opportunities that I have today; nevertheless, she understood the importance of education and has ensured my siblings and I have obtained the best education possible.  

The primary purpose of the Kate Edger Charitable Trust Awards is to provide funds for the promotion, advancement and encouragement of education amongst women, whether it be in the spheres of research and professional activities or artistic and creative activities.  It is a charitable trust whose main purpose is to help women achieve their educational goals, through the provision of scholarships, financial and other assistance. The awards have made it possible for all of us to continue with our education and to keep going and to reach our goals and aspirations. For me personally, it has meant that I did not have to work while also studying full-time and raising two young children.   

We all know the value and importance of education.  Education allows us to gain knowledge, and be critical thinkers. It empowers us and gives us the skills we need to make the world a better place. Education makes us better able to deal with adversity, and the more knowledge we gain the more opportunities will open to us, giving us better possibilities in our lives. 

Thank you and I hope that you all enjoy your afternoon.