At a gathering of over 100 school and business leaders in Sydney on the 15th November 2010, Kerry Jukes and Geoff Wilson, CEO of KMPG, proudly announced the two national winners of the Doug Jukes Memorial Scholarships for 2010/2011. Zahra Heidari from Yeronga State High School in Queensland and Fatima Taleb from Preston Girls Secondary College in Victoria flew in to accept their awards along with family members and school principals.
Both students were chosen based on their academic ability and their likelihood of finishing Year 12 and entering tertiary education. The selection panel also considered these students most likely to benefit from mentoring support and financial assistance.
Zahra’s family arrived in Australia having faced many challenges in Afghanistan and Iran including very limited access to education, and losing their father to cancer. “As Afghan refugees in Iran, we were victims of racial discrimination. My mum left her home town, friends and everything she had in Iran and came to Australia for her children’s future, to provide a better life and future for us.”
Zahra is a hardworking and ambitious student. Whilst learning English, settling in a new country and helping out with her mother who is unwell, her sister, niece and two younger brothers, she is putting every possible effort behind her dream of becoming a doctor.
“This scholarship can change my life. It will help me focus on my studies without worrying about how I will fund my education.”
Fatima is one of ten children and helps care for four of her siblings with severe cerebral palsy and two siblings who have been diagnosed with epilepsy. Despite the obstacles this poses to her education time-wise and financially, Fatima’s generosity and passion to help others has been recognised by her School Principal, Cheryl Judd. “Fatima has a strong sense of social justice and a desire to contribute to the wider community in positive ways.”
Fatima is aiming to become a teacher and work with people with disabilities.
“The scholarship will provide a chance for me to have extra funds for my education as I find it quite hard to ask for things because there are so many of us. It will also enable me to take pressure off my mother.”
The scholarship money will be paid to the students in instalments through the schools and will be spent on items such as school fees, extra tuition and other resources to prepare them for further education.
Due to the high calibre of applications the scholarship fund announced state awards of $1000 to NSW, Queensland, Victorian and WA students. In addition, a special commendation award of $1000 was granted to Feddy Kak from Sir Joseph Banks High School in NSW in recognition of his excellent application letter.
NSW – Nirukshan Shanmugam
QLD – Bahara Nadir Shah
VIC – Hurmiz Hermez
WA – Ashleigh Jade Lindsay