Local Hero: Kate Halstead
Development and Community Aid worker KATE HALSTEAD kick-started the Women’s Empowerment Program and the Girls Leader-ship Program as the Volunteer and Women’s Empowerment Coordinator for Global Vision International (GVI) in Nepal.
The young Portland native attended Bayview College and studied Interna-tional Relations and Health Promotion at Deakin University before heading off to volunteer with GVI. She trekked to Everest Basecamp, white-water rafted on the Trisuli River, worked with boys from a Children’s Home and in a daycare centre “full of little trouble-makers – and I had a blast.”
Kate flew onto Europe to explore, and visited Dachau and Auschwitz death camps which was “a very haunting experience”. She was in Europe when GVI called to offer her a place on the team and she returned to Nepal.
“Women and girls are very marginalised in Nepal, so the aim of the project I ran was to empower women and girls to take charge of their lives, while educating the community on the worth and value of female participation in society.”
“We started by offering women’s health workshops and English lessons, and I worked with kids in an after-school program improving their conversational English and covering a whole range of topics from public speaking to creative writing to being responsible citizens to understanding their emotions.”
Kate was still in Nepal during both earthquakes and the GVI teamed up with local businesses to provide relief of food, shelter and other essential supplies. “We worked hard to deliver aid to areas which had not yet been reached. We had amazing support from communities all over the world. The Portland community was very generous with their donations and support for Nepal.”
Now back in Australia, Kate is enrolled in a Masters of Development Studies and specialising in gender at The University of Melbourne. “I am a firm believer in people standing up and speaking out against injustices, and educating and empowering our youth to do so.”