Meet some of our Shaping Futures Scholarship recipients
John is studying a Bachelor of Nursing. As an international student he has to pay his university fees up-front. He works long hours in a nursing home to support his studies.
Growing up in a family of 10 children in Zambia, one of the world's poorest countries, posed many difficulties for John. He also missed much of his schooling due to a number of bouts of Malaria. Against the odds he's now in the final year of his degree.
"It is my dream to become a nurse and honour my deceased parents, who would have loved to see me graduate. My mother was a community nurse but never had the chance to gain an education. When I think about realising my dream to become a fully qualified nurse, tears run down by cheeks. I want to help people who need help because I myself have been helped."
For Marcos, who suffers from cerebral palsy, the financial support of his Shaping Futures Scholarship has made a very tangible difference to him. Marcos says his $4,000 scholarship allowed him to work hard and achieve top grades to transfer from a Bachelor of Information Technology to a Bachelor of Computer Science.
He is in his third year and on track for honours with the aim of eventually undertaking postgraduate studies.
"The scholarship was a huge help to me and my family. As my physical disability makes it difficult to use public transport or drive myself, all of my scholarship funds were used towards transportation costs."
Lisa-Marree was the first person in her family to attend university, but she almost didn't make it. She left school at the age of 15 and didn't even complete Year 9. After becoming pregnant at 17 Lisa thought attending university was out of her reach.
Years later as a married mother of four children, one of whom suffers from severe autism, Lisa never thought she would someday go to university. But now she is studying to become a podiatrist.
"It's hard to juggle caring for four kids including one with a disability as well as studying. Receiving this scholarship meant I didn't have to worry so much about finances and I could concentrate on my grades. I am dedicating myself to self-improvement not just for me but for my whole family. I'm proud that my children see me as a role-model."
Alissa is a high achieving Bachelor of Laws (Honours) / Bachelor of Commerce student. Life hasn't dealt Alissa an easy hand. She cares for her mother who has had a kidney transplant after suffering for a long time from a hereditary kidney condition.
Alissa works in three casual jobs to help support her family. Alissa also has to battle with her own medical condition, which means she requires frequent medical appointments.
"I believe my hardships have made me mentally stronger and more determined to succeed. Receiving a Shaping Futures Scholarship allowed me to work less at my casual jobs, which meant I could attend all my classes and focus on my studies without having constant financial burdens and stress on my mind."