Thursday, 22 September 2011
This evening I would like to speak about the work of the LBW Trust. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of cricket knows that LBW stands for leg before wicket. While the LBW Trust has been established by cricket lovers and is doing great work in cricket-playing developing countries, as far as the LBW Trust is concerned the letters LBW stand for Learning for a Better World. The LBW Trust was established in 2006. Its mission statement says:
Our aim is to assist poor students from cricket-playing countries to complete their tertiary education. Our hope is that these young men and women will play their part in the upliftment of their countries.
Many international cricketers who have toured the subcontinent or Africa have become aware of and concerned about the more limited educational opportunities that students from nations such as India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe have. And we are all aware of the importance of education in achieving positive change in the lives of individuals and communities.
It was John F. Kennedy who said:
Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. … The human mind is our fundamental resource.
The LBW Trust believes education is the way to a better future, not just for the young people the trust sponsors but also for their families and the communities that they live in. The trust plays its part by supporting students in developing countries who otherwise would not have the opportunity of receiving tertiary education. It is worthy of note that the LBW Trust is unusual in that it has no operating expenses or overheads whatsoever; it is run entirely by volunteers, and the money it raises goes directly to help educate the students it supports.
The trust is currently supporting 261 students, and it acts in partnership with local NGOs in those countries where it operates: Uganda, India, Pakistan and South Africa. Students supported by the trust study everything from bricklaying and motor mechanics to teaching, nursing and the law. LBW Trust supported students in South Africa come mainly from Zimbabwe. There are many success stories to tell, including one student who is now doing postgraduate work in Canada. A number of LBW students have returned to work in Zimbabwe. One is starting a small farm, another is working in cricket and yet another is involved in a chicken business. Currently, the LBW Trust has scholars at Durham University and Oklahoma university, and two of its students have qualified as lawyers.
In Pakistan, the trust is assisting the students of Namal College—set up by Pakistani cricketing great Imran Khan—where particular emphasis is given to supporting the tertiary education of girls. The LBW Trust has also collaborated with the Sustainable Peace and Development Organisation, known to some as SPADO, to further the education in Peshawar of five young women who come from the troubled Swat valley in Pakistan. In Pakistan, the LBW Trust is helping to educate, in total, over 25 students—most of them girls.
In Uganda, the trust is working with an impressive Australian based NGO called One Village, set up by a young woman from Adelaide called Nikki Lovell. There it is helping to educate 25 young men and women. In India, the LBW Trust has about 150 students, a majority of them girls, and it is working through two NGOs: Prerana Nurture Merit and the Vikash Educational and Charitable Trust. These students come from desperately poor family backgrounds, and an education is essential for them to have any real chance of building a better life.
The trust's board boasts an impressive batting order of corporate players, major accounting firm partners, solicitors, journalists, trainers and farmers. They include Malcolm Alder, Tom Bowes, Mike Coward, Ron Holmes, Harley Medcalf, Kelsey Munro, Lyn O'Brien, Peter Strain, David Vaux and the indefatigable chairman of the trust, Mr Darshak Mehta, who has been such a driving force behind its work.
The patrons of the organisation also have a few runs on the board. Three of the trust's patrons have 25,455 test match runs between them: the former Australian captains Greg Chappell and Adam Gilchrist, and the current Indian test batsman Rahul Dravid—the second highest run scorer in test cricket history. Other patrons include Sir William Deane, Malcolm Fraser, General Peter Cosgrove, Ian MacFarlane, Rodney Cavalier, Basil Sellers, Malcolm Speed and Maurice Newman. I am a former director of the trust but I too now have the honour of serving as a patron.
It is important also to acknowledge that, at annual dinners and other LBW Trust events, a number of noted Australian and international cricket captains have volunteered their time and support: Ian Chappell, Greg Chappell, Steve Waugh, Bill Lawry, Adam Gilchrist, David Gower, Sir Ian Botham and Sir Richard Hadlee. Theirs has been a most generous and important contribution to the work of the LBW Trust.
Cricket is a game played by rich nations and poor nations. It is a game where kids from Indian slums or Caribbean ghettos can play alongside against those from immeasurably more privileged backgrounds, those who have had all of the advantages and opportunities we in Australia sometimes take for granted. Through the work of the LBW Trust, Australians, and particularly Australian cricket lovers, can play their part in helping others in much less fortunate circumstances achieve their potential. Tonight, I want to take the opportunity to congratulate all those who have worked so hard to establish the LBW Trust, who have been so committed to seeing its important work around the world become a reality.