Ten Hunter students who came to Australia as refugees have received scholarships that will help during their education.
The scholarships are made possible through a $30,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.
The students were provided the scholarships by the Mentor Support Network (MSN) virtually after the scheduled presentation ceremony was cancelled to reduce the risk of spreading the Covid19 virus.
MSN and the Charitable Foundation opted to announce the scholarships via a digital presentation that was broadcast on Facebook. Each student was then invited to provide a short video outlining a little of their own story which will be published to social media in coming days.
However, there is nothing virtual about the student prize. Each student, who is in senior school, receives a scholarship of $3,000. The scholarship enables the purchase of essential education needs including laptop computers and uniforms. It also funds a career program where each student will be involved in a 13-week mentoring program and an individualised career assessment, designed to improve career pathways after school.
The recipients are from grades 10, 11 and 12 and one is a TAFE student. Three are from Syria and there is one from each of Kurdistan, India, Ethiopia, Turkey, Congo, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
This is the second year the Charitable Foundation has granted $30,000 to this program.
Chair of MSN, Jon Chin said the refugee specific program was established after it became evident that refugee students faced many challenges outside those of other students.
MSN awarded 45 scholarships last month to students whose family financial situation might prevent them from completing their education goals. Some students from refugee families face additional challenges such as having to learn English and face vastly different cultural challenges.
Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chair, Phil Neat said the scholarships had the potential to create positive generational change for students who have grown up facing extraordinary personal challenges and circumstances.
Each scholarship is an investment in the future of these students, their families and our community. Despite the challenges posed by current circumstances, the Charitable Foundation Board is proud to take the opportunity to celebrate the potential of each of our 10 recipients, Phil said.
MSN’s refugee student scholarships, which have been awarded since 2019, are managed by its dedicated volunteers, who work closely with the support of schools, mentors, careers advisers and others to help young people achieve gaols that might otherwise be out of reach.