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The power of an opportunity: enabling technology for rural students in Papua New Guinea

How a chance opportunity sparked Jack Growden’s commitment to giving students the tools they need to bridge the digital divide and expand their capabilities.

While studying at Australia’s James Cook University, Jack Growden was offered an opportunity to participate in a fully funded anthropology field course in Papua New Guinea. Over the span of two weeks, he immersed himself in the culture of a remote village, interacted with students in the local community, and observed first-hand the constraints they faced in accessing a quality education, health services, and employment opportunities. It was a transformational possibility for cultural exchange, and for Growden, it proved to be much more. 

As Growden engaged with the community, one glaring issue caught his attention: the striking absence of technology in classrooms. He found himself asking, "how can this be a quality education in today's world if it's not a digital education?" Soon after, his innate sense of enthusiasm and unshakeable drive meant he was taking the first step on his journey of creating equitable access to digital technology, starting by donating his own laptop to the students in the community. That small act of generosity marked the birth of LiteHaus International, a remarkable initiative that has since helped transform the educational landscape by building technology labs and empowering students in remote communities throughout Papua New Guinea. Growden recalls the humble beginnings of LiteHaus International: 

“We started small, working in my parent’s garage, with my friends and family chipping in with modest donations. We collected twenty dollars here, ten dollars there, and we just kept at it. Every small win kept us going.”

- Jack Growden, LiteHaus International founder, and CEO.

It was uncharted territory for the Townsville, Australia resident, and he knew that each day had the potential to make just as much impact as the next. “Hard work is ingrained in my DNA,” said Growden, “and I know that we can change people’s lives by putting in that work so, ultimately, I knew it was up to all of us to make a difference where we could.” Six months later, LiteHaus International opened the doors to their first computer lab in Papua New Guinea. Today, the organization boasts over 173 technology labs in schools throughout Papua New Guinea and other regions around the world, like the Philippines and remote parts of Australia. 

For Growden, donating his laptop to students who needed it was the first step towards addressing a bigger issue. “I saw something I couldn’t accept,” he said “and, since then, I’ve made it my mission to do what I can to solve it.” From the inception of LiteHaus International, Growden has witnessed the power of technology firsthand as students and communities build brighter futures by integrating computers into their day-to-day lives and expanding their digital capabilities. The long days of running LiteHaus International are rewarded by the significant results of their work. "The impact is massive," says Growden, "People are motivated because we’re solving problems. I’ve witnessed the extraordinary human capability that’s caught behind

Alongside individual financial and device donations, LiteHaus International has also benefited from Deloitte’s ongoing commitment to making an impact that matters. “Deloitte is helping us create opportunities for people,” Growden explains. “They’ve supported us holistically by providing volunteers and financial contributions. It’s been incredible to see how much impact we’ve been able to make, especially as Deloitte Australia has recently onboarded us as one of their WorldClass digital literacy charity with an annual donation of $50,000 AUD, along with priority access to pro bono services and capacity building, including mentoring.” With this support, LiteHaus International has been able to establish over 60 additional technology labs in schools throughout Papua New Guinea and lay the groundwork for expanding their operations to other communities, bringing them closer to their goal of impacting one million people by 2030. “We’re taking our ambitions around the world, and we know Deloitte is in our corner.”

Jack Growden’s unwavering optimism and belief in the power of people is at the core of every LiteHaus International initiative. By seizing the opportunity to roll up his sleeves, address an issue, and commit himself to making a difference, he’s turned technology into a lifeline and converted a simple idea into a mission that's instilling confidence and empowering brighter futures. Growden's small act of generosity has become a powerful force for change, and with technology labs uplifting remote communities and devices in the hands of even more students, countless people have been given the tools to uncover new possibilities and unlock their potential.