DLA Piper's newest Global Scholars: Talitha-kumi Geparo (left) and Litia Baleleivuka (right). The duo are pictured here with Head of the Law School, Professor Eric Colvin (center).
Two high-achieving law students of The University of the South Pacific (USP) have been awarded scholarships under the prestigious DLA Piper’s Global Scholarships Programme.
Talitha-kumi Geparo and Litia Baleleivuka, the new DLA Piper Global Scholars are both third year law students at USP Emalus Campus, Port-Vila, Vanuatu.
Talitha, who is from Lae, Morobe Province in PNG, is the youngest in her family. She was home-schooled and grew up witnessing a number of injustices happening in her community, such as domestic violence, police brutality and corruption.
These experiences inspired her to pursue a law degree: “I want to be able to help people and that everyone should know that the law is to there to assist them and not hurt them”.
Litia is from Raviravi village on Matuku Island, Lau Province in Fiji. Her parents ensured that she and her siblings received an upbringing that was strongly based on their Fijian culture.
As a high school student, Litia was a volunteer tutor at an orphanage where she heard “stories that were heart-wrenching; nobody, no matter how old they are, should ever have to go through”.
“Even more heartbreaking was that the system that was supposed to protect them was contributing to the problems they were going through,” she shared.
Although she initially wanted to pursue a career as a social worker, Litia came to realise that a law degree would give her the opportunity to help shape policies that would “prevent the problem from happening in the first place.”
At first, because of self-doubt, Talitha and Litia were reluctant to submit their applications but due to their belief in God, motivation from their families and their passion to make a positive change, they managed to overcome this self-doubt.
Like any other scholarship, this opportunity comes as a huge financial relief and support to the students and their families.
DLA Piper is a global law firm that operates in more than 40 countries across the world that “focuses on removing barriers to entering the legal profession”.
As part of their Global Scholarship Programme, DLA Piper awards talented law students in developing countries financial support, internships, mentoring and professional development opportunities that they would not otherwise have access to.
Talitha and Litia will be travelling to Kenya this June and are grateful for the opportunities that the scholarship has opened up.
The duo join two other DLA Piper Global Scholars at USP Emalus Campus, Hariton Kasibolo and Felix Weape, both of whom are from the Solomon Islands.
They have encouraged their fellow students to trust in God, have confidence and to strive for excellence: “We are from countries that are still developing and the reason we are getting educated is not only for our families but for the growth of our nations. We do not want mediocre professionals. We can all achieve great things but we need to change our attitudes from being satisfied with just a pass. Start working hard right now!”
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