The lives of poverty-stricken girls in rural Laos was put in the spotlight last week when the Blackbutt Hotel and women from the local community gathered to raise close to $5000 for the Lotus Education Fund.
The Lotus Fund was established to create educational opportunities for young girls, as young female students face many barriers in Laos including cultural taboos, early marriages and resistance to co-ed classes.
Blackbutt Hotel manager and owner Fiona O'Connor said that without the support of the Lotus Education Fund young girls in rural Laos would never be able to receive the appropriate education.
“We were proud to host the dinner in our venue and contribute to the support of these young girls in rural Laos,” Fiona said.
“The charity dinner was a great way to raise awareness of this issue in our local community.”
“Everyone deserves an education, and I'm passionate about helping women excel in business as well as in life.”
In Laos more than 47 per cent of girls (compared to 27 per cent of boys) have never been to school and more than 50 per cent of ethnic minority girls never attend school and most of those who do only complete two grades.
“Hosting fundraising events is one way the local community here in the Hunter can help to make a difference.”
Over 100 women attended the event, with the evening was hosted by local NBN News presenter Natasha Beyersdorf.
Along with the support of the local community, the Blackbutt Hotel has managed to raise over $100,000 in the past decade, contributing to over a dozen different local and international charities, including the John Hunter Hospital and Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
The Blackbutt Hotel holds a variety of annual fundraising events including the Christmas Raffle and Women's Dinner, which contribute thousands of dollars to different charities each year.