Sisters of Charity Foundation Australia

“I love supporting, advocating for, and empowering women during their childbearing journey as it is a time full of hormones, emotions and vulnerability,” says our scholarship student Lillian. “I would love to contribute to a positive change in the world, such as decreasing the intervention rates during birth and the rate of birth trauma.

“One of the subjects I enjoy is called ‘Keeping the Normal in Birth’. Unfortunately, there is a lot of unnecessary intervention in women’s pregnancy, birth and postpartum period, as well as women having a lot of birth trauma. The subject covers a number of topics surrounding how we can encourage a ‘normal birth’, with them being easy things such as movement in labour, continuity of care, engaging women in discussion about birth and what they would and would not like.”

Lillian is in her last year of a Bachelor of Midwifery at the University of Technology Sydney, and has consistently achieved high results in her courses – her passion for the subject is undeniable. Lillian’s goal was to complete the three-year degree then do her Honours.

Midwifery scholarship student Sydney
“My interests are all over the place; I love mechanical keyboards, perfume, medical-related things, preserved flowers and going to Glebe markets every weekend.”

Full time study + full time work = burn out

Lillian has access to subsidised rent at Foyer Central, a complex of studio apartments for young people with an out-of-home care background. It’s a safe and supportive space for them to access opportunities for personal development, health and wellbeing, education and employment. However, she will soon transition to the private rental market – and the cost of one bedroom apartments in Sydney is staggering. She was scrambling to save.

“I had three jobs,” says Lillian. “In total I was working more than 42 hours a week, plus studying. I was working as an all-rounder at a sushi restaurant, as an Assistant Midwife at RPA Hospital, and selling second hand clothes at markets on weekends.”

The Honours course is an extra year of full-time study. Lillian knew she couldn’t keep up her demanding schedule for much longer and might have to miss out on her dream.

“There was no way I could be renting privately and do my Honours because you can’t work full time, you can only work part time,” she explains.

A scholarship means stress relief

“I was over the moon when I found out I won the scholarship,” says Lillian. “I think I was on the way home from uni. I got an email and saw the word ‘scholarship’. I’ve applied to scholarships before and I haven’t gotten them and I was so ready to read ‘sorry but you haven’t been considered’ or ‘we appreciate your application but…’ But then I realised I was reading wrong and I actually got it. I started crying, it was such a happy moment – I can’t believe I got it.”

Midwifery scholarship student Sydney
“The scholarship has helped me be less stressed.” Lillian with Foundation CEO Louise Burton and Sister Anthea Groves.

“Midwifery has definitely been challenging with the never-ending placement, classes, COVID restrictions, dodging catching COVID, being on call, working three jobs…”

Lillian was able to quit her sushi job and make a solid plan. After finishing her classes she’ll find a graduate midwifery job at a hospital, and rent a one-bedroom apartment within commuting distance. She’ll work for at least a year while saving as much as she can, then commence her Bachelor of Midwifery (Honours). The scholarship will help with living costs.

“I would love to say a massive thank you to the Foundation’s donors,” says Lillian. “You lovely people have definitely made a huge change in my life and helped me find my passion in midwifery again.”

Supporting our next generation of healthcare workers

Read about our other scholarship students making a difference in the healthcare sector:

  • Daniel completed a TAFE Diploma of Nursing and has been working as an enrolled nurse in a hospital setting. Wanting to upskill and take his career to the next level, he commenced a Bachelor of Nursing at the University of South Australia.
  • Tasha graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science in Paramedicine from Western Sydney University. She has also done a Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability), and worked as a disability support practitioner with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance.
  • Terri graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing from Australian Catholic University, and returned to her hometown after she was accepted into a Transition to Professional Practice program for new nursing graduates at Griffith Base Hospital.
  • Serra received her Diploma of Nursing from Randwick TAFE and has loved working as a nurse at a local medical centre. She’s considering doing a Bachelor of Nursing in the future.

About the Tertiary Scholarship Program for students with an out-of-home care background

Out-of-home care is a statutory care arrangement for children under 18 who can’t live safely at home with their birth families due to chronic child abuse or neglect.

The state government becomes their legal guardian and places the child with an alternate caregiver: a foster carer, relative, or someone in their social network. They might also live in a group home under the care of paid staff, or independently in a private rental situation.

An estimated 1% of young adults from out-of-home care backgrounds are able to attend university, compared to around 40% of young adults in the general population.

The Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program provides financial support so recipients can afford study expenses (course fees; textbooks; technology; and attending workshops, networking events and internships) as well as the cost of living on their own with no parental support. The scholarship lets them focus on their studies, rather than having to hold down multiple jobs to survive.

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