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History repeats itself 176 years after the first Sisters of Charity arrived in Australia
Sisters of Charity Foundation announces first of a kind, University of Western Sydney scholarship for young people who have lived in out-of-home or foster care.
Sydney, Australia, 8 May 2015: On Monday 11 May 2015, the University of Western Sydney (UWS) and the Sisters of Charity Foundation will announce a partnership that will provide practical help to people with disadvantaged backgrounds where the Sisters of Charity's work began in Australia in 1838.
176 years ago, the first Sisters of Charity to arrive in Australia offered care and assistance to female prisoners in Parramatta, many of whose children needed to live in out-of-home care. On Monday, the Sisters of Charity Foundation in partnership with UWS will announce that they are continuing their work by providing opportunities specifically for young people who live in out-of home arrangements such as foster care and have grown up without the stability and financial support of their family unit, by offering them tertiary scholarships.
Student Kimberley has been selected by the Sisters of Charity Foundation and UWS to be the first to receive a very generous $30,000 scholarship at UWS. This will include a hands-on university experience program and on-campus support from UWS, with the Sisters of Charity Foundation overseeing the program and supporting the students in their progress throughout the duration of their study. The Foundation hopes to gain support from local businesses to continue to grow the program.
This scholarship is part of the national Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship program, the only scholarship program that targets the growing group of young people who live in out of home care, now estimated to be more than 40,000 nationally.
Unfortunately, less than three per cent of young people who live in foster care, group homes or other out-of-home arrangements have the opportunity to attend university, compared with approximately 40% of young people in their early twenties. Many become caught in a cycle of disadvantage and, lose access to both education and much needed learning support.
Sisters of Charity Foundation, CEO, Reba Meagher says some of these young people are the most disadvantaged in our community, having had a very traumatic start to life including going through multiple foster care or group care home placements until they finally settle.
"Getting an education is personally empowering to these young people, giving them opportunities they wouldn't otherwise have, and they in turn can become great role models to their family and friends," says Meagher.
Shantell Bennett, a recipient of a Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship at ACU is now two years into her Bachelor of Nursing. She explains, "Never in a million years would I have had the opportunity to attend university without this amazing scholarship. Foster children often don't have anyone cheering for them and they are looked upon as burdens to society.
"Sisters of Charity Tertiary Foundation Scholarship recipients have the opportunity to break stereotypes for other young adults like me who are labeled a 'foster child' and thought of in a negative way. I am so happy that other young people will be able to also have this very real opportunity to turn their lives around."
Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarships are also in place at The University of Sydney, The University of Melbourne, The University of Queensland, The University of Notre Dame Sydney and Australia Catholic University.Chairman’s Speech - Click Here
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