Ten Hunter students who came to Australia as refugees have received scholarships that will help during their education.
The senior school students were provided the scholarships ‘virtually’ by the Mentor Support Network (MSN) after the scheduled presentation ceremony was cancelled to reduce the risk of spreading the COVID-19.
Each recipient was invited to provide a short video outlining their own story, which was then published on social media, and were awarded a scholarship of $3,000.
The scholarships are managed by dedicated volunteers who work closely with the support of schools, mentors, career advisers and others to help young people achieve goals that might otherwise be out of reach.
The initiative will enable them to purchase essential educational needs, including laptop computers and uniforms, while also funding a career plan where every student will be involved in a 13-week mentoring program and an individualised career assessment, designed to improve career pathways after school.
Chair of MSN, Jon Chin, said the program was established when 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,” he said.
“Some students from refugee families face additional challenges, such as having to learn English, and face vastly different cultural challenges.”
The scholarships are made possible through a $30,000 grant from the Newcastle Permanent Charitable Foundation.
Chair Phil Neat said they had the potential to create positive generational change.
“Each scholarship is an investment in the future of these students, their families and our community,” he said.
“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.”
This year’s scholarship recipients are: Aya Sulaiman (Kurdistan, Year 11); Tenzin Dechen (India, Year 11); Mohamad Alsbeih (Syria, Year 11); Elul Tecle (Ethiopia,Year 10); Arman Zolfaghart (Turkey, Year 10); Esperance Mulangatito (Congo, Tafe); Waleed Faisal (Sudan, Year 11); Lorin Ramo (Syria, Tafe); Tinotenda Mureverwi (Zimbabwe, Year 11); Sofa Alkasim (Syria, Year 12).