A young mother dedicated to improving the lives of her island people has been awarded Southern Cross University’s first ever ANZ Indigenous Undergraduate Scholarship.
Personal experience of social and medical disadvantage among her Indigenous community on North Stradbroke Island has motivated Belinda Engelbrecht to study for a Bachelor of Indigenous Studies (trauma and healing) at the Lismore campus.
Belinda will receive her scholarship at a presentation ceremony for all Lismore scholarship recipients at Invercauld House on Thursday, February 21.
“In my country there is a lot of alcohol and drug abuse among young people and problems of child neglect,” the mother of four said. “There are only a few Indigenous health care workers on the island. I would like to do something in the field of health so that I can return to help my own people.”
Since leaving high school in Year 9 Belinda has amassed an incredible wealth of first-hand experience. She has tutored at a secondary school, worked in aged respite care and delivered Aboriginal cultural education on North Stradbroke, while also working with the Aboriginal Housing Co-operative and Indigenous Health Centre.
She said that completing the Gnibi Foundation program at Southern Cross University last year reinforced her study ambitions and the three-year ANZ scholarship, valued at $15,000, will enable her to set up a study and help cover both her education and child-care costs.
Scholarships valued at more than $355,000 will be awarded to more than 80 students enrolled at Southern Cross University this year – the highest number of scholarships in the program’s 13-year history. Most are valued at $5000 per year and are supported by the Vice-Chancellor, community groups, trusts and industry partners, including new supporters First National Real Estate, the Far North Coast Law Society, NSW Sport and Recreation, ANZ and Norco.
Fifty new scholarships are being offered in 2008, including eight Honours scholarships, five Tweed Shire Council scholarships and three Lismore City Council scholarships.
Photo opportunity: Recipients studying at the Lismore campus of Southern Cross University will be presented with their scholarships during a ceremony on Thursday, 21 February at 11am at Invercauld House, Goonellabah.
Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.