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MYS yorga's

Moorditj Yorga Scholarship Program

Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to enter and succeed at Curtin University so they can return to their communities as strong leaders and role models.

Moorditj yorgas, moorditj boodjastrong women, strong country

‘Moorditj yorga’ means ‘strong woman’ in the Noongar language of Western Australia’s South West. Colloquially, it also means ‘deadly’. We’ve all been influenced by strong women in our lives – mothers, sisters, aunts, teachers, colleagues and friends.

Women are the bedrock of any community, particularly those that have long faced social and economic inequity. The Moorditj Yorga Scholarship Program will support mature-aged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women – who may feel the promise of higher education has passed them by – to enter university, pass their studies and receive mentoring as they transition into their careers.

Together, let’s make this opportunity available to as many moorditj women as possible.

Hear from our scholarship recipients

Janelle Brown | Moorditj Yorga Scholarship recipient

“I am a Bundjalung woman from Grafton, NSW. I have worked extensively in the community development sector, and I still do on a part-time basis. Initially I was hesitant to study at university, but I realised that to achieve my career dream, I needed a degree to be taken seriously.

“In 2020, I received a Moorditj Yorga Scholarship. Working part-time and studying full-time is sometimes very challenging. This scholarship allowed me to set up my study nook and pay large bills, reducing financial pressures so I could focus on my studies. I have been surprised by how much I enjoy studying; and have gained so much knowledge from my lecturers and fellow students.

“When I graduate, I intend to establish my own consultancy business. I feel positive about the future, and about what I can contribute to my family and my community. My positive experience at Curtin prompted me to encourage my daughter to enrol in tertiary studies.”

Janelle on CurtinFM Radio
Read ‘The Power of Educated Women’

Jill* | Moorditj Yorga Scholarship recipient

“The past 30 years of my life has been a journey of heartache, struggle, loss and grief, but also of self-discovery, recovery, triumph and healing. Having experienced homelessness, domestic violence and drug addiction, I have now been in recovery for seven years and have worked in Aboriginal mental health for the past five years.

“These years have given me the capacity to contribute to society more than I ever could have imagined. It is always challenging to juggle full-time work, study and caring for my granddaughter. But this scholarship has given me the means to afford this course and pay my mortgage. I am blessed that I was given a second chance at life, and my course will enable me to achieve the dreams I wish to pursue in the mental health field for Aboriginal people.”

*Name changed for personal reasons

Yorgas Barloonginy by Valerie Ah Chee

Valerie Ah Chee, Yorgas Barloonginy, 2021, acrylic on canvas.

This artwork was especially commissioned for the Moorditj Yorga Scholarship Program. It represents the transference and continuity of knowledge between generations of Aboriginal women since creation.

The circle in the middle is the first gathering of the Elder matriarchs (holders of knowledge and learning) teaching the next generation of women about identity, connections, belonging and culture, and sharing their wisdom on business, country, culture, language, resilience, strength, survival, rituals, ceremonies and stories. This transference of knowledge is fluid and alive – always moving backwards, forwards, sideways and circular to ensure continuation, and represents our survival and the strength of our culture and identity. It moves between the circle and the Elders to family groups, and between communities as represented by the small circles. 

The snake is the Wagyl, creator and protector of the waterways in Noongar culture, which is essential for life. The area within the Wagyl represents what we learn from birth – who we are, where we belong, our culture and language. The women sitting around the snake are ready to start a different journey to learning. The outer circles and pathways represent the interconnected institutions and paths that complement what we have been taught from our Elders since birth. These paths take us to places where we meet new people and learn from different communities, but they always take us and our learning back to our belonging place, where we began. These paths go into the universe and connect us to the women who came before us and sacrificed so that we, when we are ready, can fly.