The University of Newcastle, Australia

The Ikara-Flinders Ranges Challenge is a way for our community to unite in support of Indigenous student education and health research supporting Indigenous communities. It follows a tradition set by previous Challenges in 2015 and 2017.

Last time, 27 keen trekkers (staff, students, alumni and community representatives) gathered for a 65km trek along the Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory. Together, with your generous support, we raised an impressive $152,431! These funds are already making a life-changing impact.

Larapinta Trail Challenge 2017 - your support created change

2 research projects funded in 2018
15 Shaping Futures Scholarships funded
$30,000 funding for three Indigenous student PhD Scholarships
$152,431 raised to support Indigenous equity

Indigenous Health Research

Changing more lives for longer

Your support is enriching lives and communities through Indigenous health research. Funds raised through the 2017 Larapinta Trail Challenge went to support two research projects exploring important Indigenous health issues. They were:

  • MAMAS - Empower Health App for Indigenous mothers
  • Improving foot health outcomes for Aboriginal Australians with diabetes.

Healthy lives start with healthy feet

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019 states that Indigenous Australians are around 4 times as likely to have type 2 diabetes prevalence, hospitalisation and death rates related to diabetes as non-Indigenous Australians. Indigenous Australians are also known to have disproportionately high rates of diabetes-related foot complications (including lower limb amputations rates 38 times higher) than non-Indigenous Australians of the same age.

I grew up in the bush living off bush tucker until I was fifteen, then I moved into a real house, and then came KFC…The impact of the lifestyle and diet change on my family has been devastating. This clinic helps us to understand why diabetes is so rampant in our communities and how foot care is an essential part of looking after our wellbeing.”  - Jenni McEwen, clinic patient.

Where your donations went: Podiatry clinic NSW Central Coast

 Image: Aunty Nola Leslie, who attends the clinic regularly to monitor her health, with Associate Professor Viv Chuter. Your support for the Larapinta Trail Challenge 2017 has funded an outreach program delivering Podiatry and foot care education to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on the NSW Central Coast.

We are so grateful to the trekkers and their supporters. Thanks to you, we are training better future Podiatrists and helping more Indigenous Australians to look after their feet.” - Associate Professor Vivienne Chuter, School of Health Sciences (Podiatry), Project Lead.

Student scholarships

Pushing new boundaries

In 2018, five Larapinta Trail Challenge Indigenous Shaping Futures Scholarships were awarded, helping bright students get closer to their potential. Each recipient is going beyond the limits of financial hardship, illness, caring responsibilities or a combination of factors that would otherwise put their studies at risk.

Another 10 x scholarships will be awarded over the next two years with funds raised in 2017.

Thanks to your support, the impact will be felt for generations.

Hear from our Shaping Futures Scholars

Melissa-Sue has always dreamed of completing her honours in Business. Being awarded a Larapinta Trail Challenge Indigenous Shaping Futures Scholarship means this proud Wiradjuri woman may fulfil her dreams and secure a better future for her son.

Melissa-Sue has completed a Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Commerce and is now investigating the impact of social media on feminism with possibility of pursuing a PhD after her Honours.

I’ve always believed that you don’t have to ‘come from money’ to be successful, however, as a single mother, living away from my home community of Wellington, NSW, it has been incredibly tough to support myself and my son.

It wasn’t until after I received the scholarship that I realised I wouldn’t have made it through the rest of the semester without it. I’m now able to work consistently on my university studies and achieve high results. Thank you for supporting my ambition, allowing me to follow dreams and break the cycle of poverty many Aboriginal people find themselves in.”  - Melissa-Sue Ah-See.

Joshua is studying a Bachelor of Teaching and aspires to become a University lecturer teaching Aboriginal studies, traditional language and Aboriginal culture. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at aged four, Joshua works extremely hard to overcome his challenges.

A Wiradjuri man raised on Wonnarua land, Joshua is devoted to his community. He runs Yugioh classes for kids in the Cessnock area at his local library, mentoring them while teaching him valuable skills in organisation and leadership.

“This scholarship has helped me push past my own limitations and find ways to address my social anxiety and pursue my learning goals. The scholarship has made me even more determined to become a Lecturer and make my community proud.” - Joshua Gainsford-Herring, Larapinta Trail Challenge Indigenous Shaping Futures Scholarship recipient