“For virtually my entire life I lived in a household that resulted in disruption to my education,” says Andre, an only child who grew up in Sydney. “Severe family difficulties – including forms of abuse and where drugs and alcohol were present, along with criminal and mental health issues – regularly impacted our household and my personal development.

“Constantly moving in and out of dwellings, I accepted these unstable circumstances and dysfunction as the norm. It was all I knew…

“Yet something told me there had to be more than this. I knew that if I could make progress towards bettering myself then things wouldn’t forever be as they were.”

Foster care tertiary scholarship program engineering student
Andre with Sr Suzette Clark, Sr Anthea Groves and Sr Cate O’Brien.

Next stop: university

Andre threw himself into studying for his HSC, despite police removing him from his home and placing him in the care of extended family. His good marks eventually secured his place in a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at Western Sydney University.

“Growing up I always had a passion for cars… I’ve always looked at the world through the lens of mathematics and seen things in a methodical way,” Andre explains. “Engineering really speaks to that.

“It’s early days but right now I’m interested in aeronautical engineering – planes, aerodynamics – I’m hoping that as I finish my degree an internship will lead me into the next phase of my career.”

Foster care tertiary scholarship program engineering student
Andre with Sisters of Charity Foundation CEO Louise M Burton.

Applying for the scholarship

Andre learned about the Foundation’s scholarship for young people from an out-of-home care background through his university and was quick to apply. He found the process – which required him to write about his upbringing, education, and ambitions – therapeutic, even though he thought he probably wouldn’t get it.

Then an email arrived announcing he’d won the scholarship.

“I read that – I had to read it twice – and I thought wow! I was speechless,” says Andre. “Immediately I jumped up and told my granddad, then told my grandma when she got back from the beach. She was over the moon about it. She said, ‘Oh Andre, that’s amazing!’”

Foster care tertiary scholarship program engineering student
Andre with Their Excellencies the Governor-General and Mrs Linda Hurley.

Shortly after accepting the scholarship Andre was congratulated by our Patron, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd), Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, and his wife Mrs Linda Hurley.

Andre’s plans for the future

Andre has been living with his grandparents for the past couple of years and, while he’s happy to be in a stable home environment, their house is a very long way from the uni campus. The scholarship will help him relocate to a better location – meaning those long hours of commuting can be better spent studying instead.

“Now armed with this scholarship, I have no doubt that my aspirations to work tirelessly toward fulfilling my own potential shall be realised,” says Andre. “My sincere thanks to you for this scholarship opportunity. Thank you!”

We couldn’t picture a more deserving young man and look forward to following his career. We wish Andre the best of luck in his studies.

Foster care tertiary scholarship program engineering student
Andre thanked Foundation supporters for the scholarship opportunity.

About the Tertiary Scholarship Program

Less than 3% of young adults who were unable to grow up safely at home with their birth parents go on to any form of higher education.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program provides financial support so recipients can afford study expenses such as course fees and textbooks, as well as the cost of living on their own with no parental support.

How We Help

Each year we’re able to make a difference to thousands of people across the country with funds generously donated by compassionate Australians. We support initiatives that focus on benefiting the disadvantaged, marginalised and socially isolated people in our community.

Find out more