Curtin University’s Moorditj Yorga Scholarship campaign has received more than $1.5 million in donor commitments to support and empower mature-aged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women through their tertiary studies.
The Moorditj Yorga campaign has recently received a commitment of $55,000 from WA company Lynas Rare Earths, to further underpin the Scholarship’s vital work.
The Scholarship’s purpose is to support mature-aged First Nations women in attaining an undergraduate degree at Curtin by alleviating financial pressures as they juggle study and cultural obligations.
Moorditj Yorga, means ‘strong woman’ in the Nyungar language of WA’s South West.
Moorditj women are seen as the bedrock of their families and communities; however, many mature-aged women have considered the promise of higher education to be beyond their reach.
Now, through the MYS Program, moorditj women have an opportunity to overcome social and economic inequity by attaining a university degree at Curtin.
One Moorditj Yorga Scholarship includes financial assistance of $10,000 per year for up to five years for each successful applicant, along with personalised support and mentoring from Curtin’s inaugural Moorditj Yorga Coordinator, Trish Hill-Wall.
A Wandandi Elder from the South West of WA, Aunty Trish is a highly respected member of the Curtin community and the personification of a moorditj yorga.
Overcoming great adversity and cultural barriers as a member of the stolen generation, Trish is an inspiring role model to her four children and a pillar of strength to scholarship recipients.
Attaining her Applied Science degree at Curtin 20 years ago when she was in her late forties, Trish has devoted her life to empowering and encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to complete their undergraduate degrees.
She will play an instrumental role in shaping and driving the transformational power of the scholarship program while ensuring its vision for the future.
“A year into my degree at Curtin, I fell in love with education. I was initially drawn to mental health for my own personal reasons, as I felt it would be beneficial to my journey of recovery as a child of the Stolen Generation. But I soon discovered a passion for teaching, and I became really excited about helping others through their education journey,’’ Aunty Trish said.
“I feel blessed and honoured to guide these incredible women through their university studies. I was a mature-aged student with four young children, so I am aware of the struggles, pressures, and family obligations Aboriginal women face, and know how important it is to feel supported and connected.”
Lynas Rare Earths CEO and Managing Director, Amanda Lacaze, said the Scholarship could change lives.
“One of the important factors in changing the status of women is access to education and university level education is incredibly powerful. Lynas is proud to support the Moorditj Yorga Scholarship for Aboriginal women who may have felt the opportunity to attain a tertiary degree was out of reach,” Ms Lacaze said.
“Strong women are the backbone of every family, community and society and strong, educated women are the role models for future generations. For me, this was my mother who completed her university studies as a mature age student and went on to shape the lives of not just our family but of the many students she taught.
“Lynas is delighted to support the education and career ambitions of mature-aged Aboriginal women, particularly those from the eastern Goldfields region of WA where Lynas operates.”
Joining Lynas are other corporate supporters Adbri, Corporate Travel Management, Flinders Mines, Lynas Rare Earths Ltd, Mineral Resources, Neometals, Northern Star Resources, and Santos.
Significant gifts have also come from Dr Vanessa Guthrie AO and Olivia Humphrey, among others.
The Moorditj Yorga Scholarship Program currently has 10 students with that number likely to grow this year.
To support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in achieving a higher education, or to apply for the opportunity to apply for a Moorditj Yorga Scholarship and study an undergraduate degree at Curtin, please visit the website or email email@example.com.