I vividly remember the time when my friend’s sister received a scholarship for her artwork in high school for which she dedicated one year to produce. She told me how it motivated her to continue pursuing her dreams despite many telling her it would not be the best career choice. She currently is pursuing Bachelors of Arts at Curtin University and wants to make a change for the better.
Pursuing a degree is not easy for everyone, especially for indigenous Australians. This is where a scholarship can make a big impact and change the course one’s life drastically. It not only removes the financial pressure of supporting oneself through part-time or full-time study but it grants a student the time and space to enhance additional skills and attributes.
I have worked as an appeal ambassador for the Moorditj Yorga (strong woman and strong country) scholarship campaign at Curtin. The scholarship provides holistic support to mature aged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to succeed at University. Being part of the campaign was something which really gave me insight into the importance of scholarship and how it has helped Aboriginal females. Two scholarship recipients so far have been awarded and I recently had the opportunity to interview Jessy, who would like to apply for Moorditj Yorga.
Why are you interested in this scholarship?
“I actually was called by someone from the Moorditj Yorga campaign for donation purposes through the phone appeal last year and that is where I got to hear about it. I am currently studying Bachelors of Health Sciences and would like to possibly pursue physiotherapy later on. I am also currently a mother of three children and balancing work, life, studies which is putting some pressure on me financially. I thought about applying for this scholarship because it is something which would really help me.”
What would you do if you were a recipient?
“I would definitely put this towards my studies. I know that the scholarship provides an annual stipend of $10,000 which I can put towards living, childcare, and educational expenses for 5 years.”
What are your thoughts on this scholarship program?
“It seems like an amazing opportunity for females, I have read the stories published on Curtin’s page and that really inspired me. It definitely is something which I would like to apply for. The fact that this program provides structured mentoring as well in the final year seemed really exciting and also that it takes enabling program and pathways into account made me even more interested. I did not do too well in high school. I am having to currently do a pathway into physiotherapy.”
The Moorditj Yorga scholarship campaign is run by alumni donations, making it the only program which is made possible by the collective contribution through students, staff and alumni at Curtin. The aim of this scholarship is to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and show that we as students and the Curtin alumni community are there to help build their careers. Hardships are part of life and no one should be deprived of opportunities because they cannot afford something.
A great deal of research has been conducted on the value of educated women in society, community, culture and economy. Further studies are transformative for women. It helps them build confidence, greater autonomy, analytical and problem-solving skills and broaden their perspectives. The scholarship addresses and takes into consideration the challenges and disadvantages faced by Aboriginal students. It attempts to give Aboriginal students a new opportunity to fulfill their dreams and capitalize on career opportunities
A second chance is all we need sometimes and a scholarship is that door that opens up ample of opportunities for a student.
Read more about the scholarship program and the journey of the recipients from the link below.
Figure 1 Artwork by Valerie Ah Chee, Yorgas Barloonginy, 2021, acrylic on canvas.