Supporting education for Asylum Seekers

For the past 4 years the Blackwood-Hills Circle (Circle 7) has been providing a living allowance to 11 asylum seekers who had gained scholarships to the University of Adelaide. Adelaide University generously offered scholarships to students of refugee background which enabled them to study without paying full international student fees. However, there were concerns that some of these students were at risk of dropping out because there was no living allowance and the students were required to support themselves by working. The Blackwood-Hills Circle, following the recommendation of John Shepherd, took up the challenge of providing a monthly allowance for these students, to enable them to work less hours and devote more time to their studies.

This Circle sought donations from our donors specifically for the student program.  Donors were sought who would provide regular monthly support for part or the whole of the monthly allowance for each student.

Over this time  just one student dropped out, and one student is still studying.  All other students have graduated from Engineering, Health Sciences, Master of Health Sciences, and the Master of Nursing Programs. In the early years, some students struggled with English, but most students gained distinctions and high distinctions by their final year, and most have found work since graduating. One has recently graduated with a Masters in Nursing, and has been offered employment at a major public hospital.

During their studies, two engineering students reported difficulty in finding work experience. John Shepherd contacted a friend, a senior manager in an international engineering company with major work in South Australia. This company, WSP, provided them with paid work experience on South Road Corridor in Adelaide, and has now offered both engineers full time employment.

We consider this program has been a great success, with the students more than honouring our investment in them, with hard work and outstanding results.