2021 Refugee Scholarship Presentation

A group of 10 refugee students studying at a number of high schools and a TAFE college in the Hunter Region have been announced as winners of special educational scholarships which provide financial assistance and mentoring to help them with their studies.

Mentor Support Network (MSN), and the sponsoring financial institution, The Mutual Bank, presented the students with their scholarship certificates at a ceremony in Newcastle today.

Chair of MSN’s Refugee Scholarship Committee, Pat O’Flaherty, said it was pleasing that two local community focussed organisations such as MSN and The Mutual Bank were joining forces to support a successful program for refugee students.

The Mutual Bank is providing the funding for the 10 refugee scholarships and its Finance Officer, Martha Nyabadza, will mentor one of the students, said Pat.

The 10 students who received their scholarship at the ceremony held at the Newcastle Harness Club’s function centre were:

  • Jawad Ahmad (20 years) – Callaghan College Jesmond
  • Mohamad Aljomoaa (18) – Callaghan College Jesmond
  • Maureen Dushime (17) – St Francis Xavier College Hamilton
  • Yasamin Ebrahimi (17) – St Francis Xavier College Hamilton
  • Narges Eftekhari (16) – Callaghan College Waratah Campus
  • Julia Khalifeh (25) – Newcastle TAFE
  • Immaculee Kirenga (18 years) – Callaghan College Jesmond Campus
  • Abdullah Marem Kool (19) – Callaghan College Jesmond
  • Amos Okumu (16) – St Francis Xavier College Hamilton
  • Sozdar Sarokhan (16) ‰ÛÒ Callaghan College Waratah Campus

Pat said the scholarships assist marginalised students to have equal access to high school resources and technology (uniforms, ancillary fees, excursions, books, computers, equipment, software and internet access).

Students from a refugee background can lack access to a range of positive role models and mentors to support their expectations, aspirations and career goals. So, a valued component of the support is a 13-week mentoring program, which for some students can be as fundamental as how to open and manage a bank account through to managing their scholarship funding or more complex mentoring about life and career choices, he said.

The Mutual Bank CEO Geoff Seccombe said the scholarships make a real difference to young people and mentoring is a great professional and personal development opportunity for The Mutual Bank’s staff.

We’re about investing in the Hunter and these scholarships are a great investment in the potential of some of our newest community members, Mr Seccombe said.

The refugee scholarship program is also being supported by Konekt (career development) and Northern Settlement Services (support services for refugees).

The Mutual Bank is 100% member-owned and provides Hunter people and organisations with everyday banking, home loans and business banking solutions.

Mentor Support Network is a not-for-profit organisation that, through the provision of education and mentoring support, encourages disadvantaged youth within the Hunter Region to reach their full potential.


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