The Sunflower Foundation (Australia) Inc. began in 2008, when Kim and Paul Power took a life-changing trip to Guamote, a rural town located in Ecuador. They visited Inti Sisa*, a non- government organisation supporting the local Andes villages with a kindergarten, a tourist hostel, a computer centre, tutoring and vocational classes. There Kim and Paul heard whispers of a dream - to create a scholarship program for Indigenous girls that would help Guamote adapt and transform from an agricultural hub to one of light industry, to promote economic growth.
*‘Inti’ meaning Sun, and ‘Sisa’ meaning flower.
Their inspiration was Kim’s late mother, Patricia Eileen Monaghan. At school, Patricia was a bright, diligent student, if somewhat independently minded, who was awarded several scholarships to Secondary School and appeared to have a promising future. However, to her dismay, she was left with no choice but to leave school at the tender age of 13, in order to take up a Hairdressing apprenticeship to financially support her brothers and sisters during the Great Depression.
Patricia's experience is why Kim and Paul chose to provide disadvantaged girls in developing nations with the access and opportunity to education. Thus, The Sunflower Foundation (Australia) Inc. was born.
Patricia Eileen Monaghan (Nee West)
Patricia at 11
Patricia at 80.
In 2018, our 10th Anniversary year, we are celebrating over $150,000 in grant funding to 26 projects impacting on the lives of thousands of girls. Given that at our founding in 2008 we aimed to raise $6000 to award one scholarship annually for a girl to attend school, then together we have exceeded expectations! Important factors.
In 2010 the Foundation restructured. It no longer made donations to projects but awarded grants to registered charities in developing countries, which shared its goals and values. To reflect the international focus, it changed its name from Education for Ecuador to The Sunflower Foundation (Australia) Inc.