“My work as a paediatrician has taught me that health and education are intertwined and inseparable,” says Professor Nadia Badawi AM, client of Equity Trustees. An internationally recognised neonatologist with extensive experience in the field of cerebral palsy and newborn brain conditions, Nadia says she feels a duty both in her professional and personal lives “to try and really make a difference”. She continues, “While Australians often see themselves as being distant from the rest of the world and being small in number, our great wealth, universal educational and health systems enable us to exert real influence on a global level. Millions of children around the world are affected by disabilities such as cerebral palsy and constrained by scant educational opportunities.”
For this reason, health and education are the cornerstones of the Keogh-Badawi Gift,
the Equity Trustees Charitable Foundation sub-fund that Nadia and her husband Dr John Keogh created in 2008. Both Nadia and John’s parents were the first in their respective families to attend university. Nadia’s Egyptian father received a PhD scholarship to
attend university in England and subsequently became a famous Professor in Linguistics. Education changed their parents’ lives and John and Nadia wanted to create a legacy that will allow others to benefit from the power of education. “I can see how the results of having access to education for our parents has sent out waves of empowerment and change, influencing and enabling the people whose lives they touched. The effects have been enormous and continues to have an effect today and into the future.”
For many years, School for Life Foundation has been one of the main beneficiaries of the Keogh-Badawi Gift (Nadia also joined their Board for a number of years). Nadia was attracted to the Foundation because its founder and CEO Annabelle Chauncy strives to provide educational opportunities for Ugandan children who would be deprived of this chance otherwise. Nadia
sees the education of girls as particularly important – through her professional research, she knows that the best predictor of a child’s health outcomes in the mother’s educational status. As the saying goes, if you educate a woman, you educate a family, a community.
Nadia works as Medical Director and co-Head of the Grace Centre for Newborn Care at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as well as being Professorial Chair of the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation, both of which are organisations she supports. In the time she has been working for them she has witnessed a dramatic improvement in the outcomes of newborn intensive care and a drop in the rate of cerebral palsy by 30% as well as a decrease in severity. “I am all too aware,” she says, “that without the commitment of our donors, and the extra services and research which only their input makes possible, we would not have seen the great strides forward that have been achieved”. She sees her job as working with the community to make sure that children needing intensive care not only survive but do so with the potential to go on to lead rich, full lives.
The Keogh-Badawi Gift not only offers health and educational opportunities but also connects Nadia and John’s two daughters, who are now young adults, to the legacy of their grandparents. Nadia says that “For my girls, they are living comfortable lives in an affluent country – and they are a few generations removed from the very raw stories of their grandmother living through the Great Depression or their grandparents being the first to attend university in their family. The Keogh-Badawi Gift is one way we can educate my daughters about philanthropy, the value of thinking about the needs of others and at least once a year, for them to consider what they might do for someone else.”