“My education will help me make an impact in my community”
When I was younger, I didn’t want to attend school and thought secondary education was not meant for me.
This changed when I had the opportunity to meet with staff from one of AIEF’s Partner Schools. They made a genuine connection with my family and highlighted all the different ways in which I would be supported by AIEF and the boarding community.
Neither of my parents finished high school, but they wanted my sisters and me to value education as they knew that it would open up a world of opportunities.
My parents wouldn’t have been able to send me to boarding school without AIEF’s support and I know would not be on the track I am right now without that support. I would be on a very different path.
I am very close with my family and hold a strong connection to country, so being away for boarding school was difficult but ultimately worth it. My family, and specifically my mum and dad, were unrelenting in their support and encouragement – it really made all the difference in me sticking it through to graduation.
In my final year of high school, I started to hit my stride with my studies but hadn’t realised how hard it would be to apply for everything to go to university.
I don’t think I would have applied for further studies and chosen my career path if not for my AIEF Pathways Advisor and the Indigenous Liaison Officer at school helping me. It was nice knowing we had that support for the future, not just like, ‘You’ve finished school. You’re on your own now’. AIEF and my boarding school still check in on me to see how I’m going and if I need help.
AIEF changed my life. Things could have been so different for me.
I am grateful that AIEF’s support did not end at simply providing us with access to high-quality education. Through the AIEF Pathways Program, I received consistent one-on-one support and various skill-building opportunities that enabled my smooth transition from school to further studies.
They really help us beyond just school to build our skillset so that when we do leave school or enter university or the workforce, we feel ready.
I have seen first-hand the lack of health services available for Indigenous people in the Northern Territory – it was what inspired me to become a healthcare professional.
I am now on track to become the first Indigenous student in my university’s history to graduate with a degree in Health Science/Speech and Language Therapy. I want to use my education and skills to work back in my community and make a difference.
I think it is important for us to see more Indigenous health professionals working in rural and remote communities across Australia. I hope to lead by example and go out rural to work closely with members of the communities. I want to give back to my community and create an environment where people feel comfortable seeking help.
My advice to other young Indigenous people and current AIEF students is: don’t be scared to be the first person from your family or community to make change and fulfil your potential.
If you want to make a change you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and have a go. You never know where it will take you – the opportunities are limitless.