Five scholarship student guests – all who have faced enormous challenges in their upbringings – had the opportunity to speak with Sisters and long-time supporters about their studies and hopes for the future.

Scholarships for care leavers
Scholarship student Nga Kim, who is studying a Bachelor of Arts: Pathway to Primary Teaching at Western Sydney University, with Sister Teresita Marcelo.
Scholarships for care leavers
Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley with Board Member Sister Margaret Valentine.

His Excellency the Governor-General David Hurley gave a speech about the transformative power of education, and his wife Mrs Linda Hurley delighted attendees with a special song she’d written about the history of the Sisters of Charity in Australia.

Scholarships for care leavers
Long-term supporters Ron and Louise Kaiser with Board Member Anne Cahill.
Scholarships for care leavers
His Excellency the Governor-General David Hurley speaks with scholarship student Baneen.

Doctor of Medicine student Baneen spoke about how receiving the scholarship has let her focus on extra-curricular activities that build her resume, like travelling to Bangladesh to complete a summer elective, and an internship with the Office of the National Rural Health Commissioner.

Scholarships for care leavers
Scholarship student Andre, who is studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) at Western Sydney University, with Sister Anthea Groves, Andre’s grandmother Kay, and Sister Margaret Fitzgerald.
Scholarships for care leavers
Long-term supporters John Challis and James Phillips with Foundation CEO Louise Burton.

Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) graduate Nathan also spoke about what he’s achieved in his professional life as a Mining Engineer – such as completing his graduate program in half the allotted time and going on to study for a range of certifications.

Nathan completed his university coursework during COVID-19 and was unable to properly mark the occasion with a graduation ceremony. Guests took the opportunity to celebrate his achievements with a big round of applause.

Scholarships for care leavers
Scholarship recipient Nathan with his grandmother Lynette.
Scholarships for care leavers
Lisa Wood and Caroline Hill from the Harding Miller Education Foundation.

“In 2021 we enhanced the program to offer our students closer support,” said Foundation CEO Louise Burton in her speech. “We don’t just hand over funds, we develop relationships with them and become part of their support networks, if that’s what they desire.”

Scholarships for care leavers
Nga Kim with the teacher who believed in her and gave her lots of support during high school, Denise Smith.
Scholarships for care leavers
Andre with his grandparents Kay and Ray.

18 students have now graduated with a university degree or TAFE diploma since the program launched in 2012. There are an additional 30 students currently studying at educational institutions around the country.

Scholarships for care leavers
Baneen, Nga Kim, scholarship student Cleo and Louise Burton. Cleo is studying a Bachelor of Communications & Media at Notre Dame.
Scholarships for care leavers
Long-term supporters James Phillips, John Challis and Robert Cahill.

More 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.

Only 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 university or TAFE 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.

Main photo from left: Nga Kim, Baneen, Nathan, Mrs Linda Hurley and the Governor-General David Hurley, Andre, Cleo and Louise Burton.

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