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Our response to COVID-19

A message from AIEF Executive Director Andrew Penfold AM on our response to COVID-19.

Like you, we have been watching with concern as the COVID-19 situation unfolds globally. Please know our thoughts are with you, and we hope that all your families and communities are keeping well in these unprecedented times.

We wanted to share what you can expect from us during these challenging times.

Our commitment to young Indigenous Australians on AIEF Scholarships

We are, first and foremost, prioritising the care and safety of students on AIEF Scholarships. Our teams are working diligently with our partner schools regarding current and medium-term plans for Indigenous boarders in response to constantly shifting challenges.

Our partner schools have been considering ways to limit the impact on students’ educational outcomes whilst ensuring their safety and wellbeing. Many schools have sent Indigenous boarders home and have been making considerable efforts to enable their online learning.

We at AIEF are busy planning for the Term 2 delivery of our programs. In particular, we are adopting appropriate methods of program delivery to ensure that we can continue to support Indigenous students with their preparation for, and transition to, study or employment post-school. In what are likely to be challenging economic conditions when these students finish Year 12, this is more important than ever.

We are also working with the wider AIEF Alumni cohort and our tertiary scholars to understand how they have been impacted and what additional support we can extend at this time.

We will continue our work

We will continue to do everything possible to make sure that we are scaling up, rather than scaling back, our support of young Indigenous Australians in these uncertain times.

AIEF has enacted plans to ensure our team members remain safe and well, connected to each other and to our stakeholders. We have suspended all work-related travel and revised the structure of both internal and external meetings, transitioning them to virtual engagements.

This global crisis will continue to have an impact on the work we do. Our sector has always needed to be innovative, responsive and resilient despite limited resources. We are hopeful that these innovations will lead to better ways of delivering positive outcomes for the young Indigenous Australians on AIEF Scholarships into the future.

Now more than ever, we are incredibly grateful for your support

Over the past 12 years, AIEF and its community of supporters have collectively provided life-changing opportunities for over 1,000 young people.

Community is the heartbeat of our organisation and while we do not know what the weeks ahead may hold, we know that your support will keep us going. If you have any questions or concerns during this period, please do not hesitate to contact us.

As the context in Australia continues to change, we will communicate any further updates or changes to AIEF’s activities.

Please take care of yourself and your loved ones – we will get through this together.

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At AIEF, we believe that the Indigenous situation is a national crisis; and the reason we get out of bed each day is to do something about it. Our approach is to have a hard head, a soft heart and capable hands with everything we do.

Andrew Penfold AM
Executive Director, AIEF


The AIEF Scholarship Program and the AIEF Pathways Program are supported by the Australian Government in collaboration with individual, philanthropic and corporate supporters from the private sector.