|Ron Hoenig MP with students, Scholarship Co-founder Ilona Lee and Shalom College Master Dr Hilton Immerman OAM|
It was an honour to visit Shalom College at the University of NSW to meet with some inspiring Indigenous Scholarship students.
This remarkable University residential college located on the grounds of the University of NSW offers scholarships to Indigenous Australians to enable the college to make a contribution to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
The program's name comes from the term Gamarada ngiyani yana in the Eora language (the coastal Aboriginal people of Sydney) and is translated as "We walk together as friends."
As the College points out; many Indigenous students find it difficult to succeed at university as they commonly come from disadvantaged educational communities, live far from campus, have to have part time work to support themselves and are seldom part of a 'learning community'.
"The Shalom Gamarada Scholarship Program helps to alleviate these problems by providing financial support, eliminating travelling time and creating an environment conducive to learning with tutoring and counselling support," the college says.
This year there are 25 students studying at the University of NSW living at Shalom College on scholarships.The students I met with all have a fascinating story to tell and are excelling in their chosen course, ranging from law to medicine to exercise physiology. All of the students have strong ties with their home towns and want to use their degree to better their communities. I found those students wonderful role models.
I was so impressed with the work of College Master Dr Hilton Immerman and his committment and obvious relationship with the students. And as always inspired by Shalom Gamarada Co-founder Ilona Lee who has always contributed so much to the community.