Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation Chair Phil Neat said this is the fourth MSN program it has funded with total support for the volunteer-led
organisation now exceeding $100,000.
ÛÏWe recognise access to educational opportunities is vital to a rewarding career path. This program goes beyond that by providing career assistance
to those who may struggle to navigate the difficult early career years,Û Phil said.
Ten local students were selected from the many applications received.Each will receive a $2000 scholarship to support their educational needs during
the year.A contract with Konekt provides for career development services for each student.Finally each student will participate
in a 13-week mentoring program.The students are shown having received their awards.
One of those students is Byiringiro Nkurunziza – whose name means Û÷hope for good news.Ûª ByiringiroÛªs family fled the Democratic Republic of the
Congo just before he was born and settled in Uganda. There, they lived in a refugee camp and slept on communal mats on the hard ground.
ÛÏAll I remember from the camp is that it was hard to get food. My mother was a vegetarian so she made gardens full of fruit and vegetables,Û Byiringiro
My dad died when I was very young which meant my older brother had to help my mother provide for us. He was 11 years old just before we left
Uganda and his job was a cattle grazier. From even younger than this though he would trade goods and services including animals for food,Û
Byiringiro and his family have been in Australia for six years now and heÛªs extremely grateful for the opportunity this program has given him.
He hopes to put the money towards tutoring, textbooks and maybe a laptop. (Byiringiro is shown with Jon Chin, MSN Chair and Phil Neat,
The awards presentation to the ten successful candidates took place on 22 February.All ten students are from the Newcastle area but arrived
in Australia from many different places.Four came from Syria, two from the Congo and one from each of Afghanistan, Burundi, Liberia and Sudan.
In his address to the students Mr Neat invited them to: ÛÏLook around the room and see a community that supports you and wholeheartedly
celebrates your success with you. We know you have a bright future here in Australia and particularly Newcastle and the Hunter.Û