Our Team

Dianne Gamage


Dianne studied Sociology, Education and Linguistics  in Australia and  the UK. She currently works as a teacher and the Service Learning coordinator   in Bangkok.  Dianne has long been dedicated to issues related to the education and health of women and children. In Bangkok, she is involved with the "Support the Girls" and Generation Education Period" projects. In 2008, she co-founded and  established the Lotus Educational Fund Ltd as a registered charity in Australia. After she  travelled and volunteered with NGO's in  Laos and Cambodia  who were working to combat sex trafficking she feel passionate about improving the life choices of girls. Dianne collaborates and coordinates our biennial workshops. Previously our workshop partners have included World Vision and the Asia Foundation. 

Helen Keogh
Communications Director

Helen trained as a nurse and after many years completed decided to complete a Bachelor of Education degree specialising in EY education. After many years teaching in Australia, Helen joined the international circuit, teaching in Japan, Thailand and Laos. It was during her five year term in Laos that Helen became actively involved with the Lotus Educational Fund Ltd helping established our in-country operation. She selected, mentored and empowered local personnel so that our programmes are sustainable and always operate in a culturally sustainable manner. Helen is an avid cyclist and she rode from Vientiane to Phuket raising sufficient funds to educate 40 young girls through their elementary education. She manages our donor program and has successfully obtained sponsorship for all 40 elementary students. 

Cathrine Hart

Treasurer and Social Media Publicist

Cathy trained as a speech language therapist and today she is an active volunteer in local schools. She trained at Cumberland Health College in Sydney. Cathy is currently based in Newcastle, Australia and is treasurer for Lotus Educational Fund Ltd. Her strong desire to put compassion into action, particularly where young children are at risk because of poverty and lack of access to education inspired Cathy to help found Lotus Educational Fund.

Dr. Tamara Jackson
Educational Programmes

Tamara has a background in agriculture. She has undertaken applied research  in the context of agriculture and food security both in Australia and overseas. She has postgraduate qualifications in applied hydrology and research management. Her PhD research explored water use efficiency, energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission relationships for different irrigation systems. In 2009 Tamara was awarded the NPSI/IAL Travel Fellowship, which allowed her to visit Turkey, Israel, the UK and the USA to discuss current research on energy and water trade-offs in agriculture. Tamara is a consultant on the Lotus scholarship programme, developing the selection criteria and her young family personally funding the  Lotus agricultural scholarship at the University of Savannakhet, Lao PDR. She is committed to supporting the role of women in agriculture and bringing change to the lives of women living in rural poverty.

Dr Phoudalay Lathvilavong
Honorary Director- Laos

Dr Phoudalay Lathvilavong, is well respected at both national and international levels as an agricultural researcher, advisor and collaborator with Australian agricultural experts. After she graduated from the National University with a degree in Agriculture she studied her M.Sc and   PhD in Kiev in Russian. Upon her return to Laos she worked with the Lao government developing new rice varieties that would support the livelihood of the smallholder farmers. Dr Phoudalay established Thasano Station (a Rice and Seed Multiplication Research Centre) where she conducts training sessions for farmers. She is a very respected member of the Lao Women's Union. In 2008, she was a founding member and advisor for the Lotus Educational Fund Ltd. From selecting the first intake of girls on the program to opening her home at Thasano station for Lotus workshops Dr Phoudalay is a valuable role model for all Lao women and girls to aspire to.

Vanvisa Da Khiewsavath
In-Country Representative Laos

Vanvisa (Ms Da) is a trained teacher who works at the International School in Vientiane. She has been involved with the  lotus Educational Fund Ltd since 2012.  We greatly value her expertise and enthusiastic approach to supporting the girls on the Lotus program. Ms Da liaisons with the school community on issues that impact the girls education while also coordinating the purchase of all the uniforms, school supplies, fee payments and actually delivers all the supplies in person with her family. Her calm manner and system thinking have strengthened our partnerships at both local and national levels.

Bouala Seemoukdalay
In-Country Representative Laos

Bouala studied at the  Savan Business Administration College in Savannakhet, graduating in business and english. For the past eight years Bouala has been involved in assisting with translation during the Lotus visits and annual registration days. In 2016, Bouala accepted the role of elementary school supervisor, visiting the 40 Lotus girls attending the four schools located at kms 35. We are very grateful for the professional support that Bouala provides in his supervision role and  through his report writing skills,

Ms Phouvanh
In-Country Representative Laos

Ms Phouvanh works as a social worker at Sengsavang shelter in Savannakhet. Through our partnership with the shelter was are able to contract Ms Phouvanh as Secondary School Supervisor to visit the Lotus girls at Nongkalong  secondary school each month. We value the professional support that Ms Phouavanh shows to Lotus and our students.

Chris Chapman
Website and Digital Marketing

Chris works on behalf of Lotus Educational Fund to monitor and update the website. Based in Newcastle Australia, Chris runs a web design agency called Clickk.

Dr Denise Nesbitt

Medical Advisor

Denise studied medicine at the University of NSW before returning to her home town of Newcastle to work in local hospitals and general practice. Recognising a need for a female gynaecologist in the area, Denise then undertook specialist training in obstetrics and gynaecology. Before moving to private practice, Denise spent 12 months in Darwin working in indigenous health, including developing the initial stages of the specialist gynaecology clinics now serving remote communities in the Northern Territory. With the establishment of obstetric services at Newcastle Private Hospital, Denise offers the option of a female fertility specialist and obstetrician in the region. She provides patients with continuing care from conception through pregnancy to the delivery of their baby.


Annemarie Arkell