International High Flyers win Study Support Scholarships

October 26th, 2017  |  Published in Education

The “International High Flyers”, we decided to call them (unofficially) when we met at RMIT University.

Study Support ScholarshipThey are the five winners of the 2020socialjustice Study Support Scholarships at the university – Ali Haidari, Lavie Anania, Losene Fofana, Sakaria Hussein, and Shasta Gumoi.

They came to Australia as refugees on permanent humanitarian visas from different corners of the world. They speak many languages between them, including English as their most recent linguistic achievement.

Two earlier posts tell the story behind the scholarships (click here and here).

RMIT’s Study Support Scholarships aim to ease financial hardship, and were awarded at the beginning of 2017. We met for afternoon tea, organised by the university, on 2 August. It was a delightful afternoon. The students met each other for the first time, and talked about themselves, their backgrounds, their studies, and what the scholarships had meant for them. They also wanted to hear about my background and why I had endowed the scholarships.

Here’s a photo. From left to right are Sakaria, Ali, me, Shasta, Losene, and Lavie.

Winners of Study Support Scholarships

I said I would like to know how their studies unfold, and they were happy with the suggestion to keep in touch. We’ve had contact by email, and they’ve also been able to contribute, and approve, material for this post.


Here’s a little about each of them.


Ali has an interest in marketing and is currently completing a four-year Bachelor of Business (International Business) (Applied). He is due to graduate at the end of 2020. So far he is achieving excellent results.

Ali is from Afghanistan and arrived in Australia in 2014. He spent thirteen years in refugee camps in Pakistan, from the time he was a young child. Since then, he has settled into Australia, established himself as a student, and learnt English.

Here are some comments from Ali about winning the scholarship.

I think winning this scholarship has not only helped me overcome my financial barriers but also motivated me towards achieving my goals. The fee invoice from the university was demotivating me and was compelling me to think about discontinuing my studies.

However, by winning the scholarship, I remained optimistic and decided to continue my studies. The money is helping me to pay a big part of my tuition fees, and to buy course books and stationery. I have also been able to spend less time working and hence had more time to focus on my studies and to participate in extra curricula activities provided by the university.”


Lavie is completing a six-month Certificate IV in Justice and is due to graduate in semester 2, 2017. He then intends to transition into a diploma or advanced diploma in a similar field.

Lavie arrived in Australia in 2013. He’s from a non-English speaking background, so has had to learn English as well as meeting all the other challenges of settling into a new country.

Here are Lavie’s comments about winning the scholarship.

“As an independent young man moving to the city from a regional area where I went to school, the Study Support Scholarship has many meanings for the education aspect of my life. Life in the city is very expensive and almost impossible for me to afford since I was unemployed and experiencing financial hardship.

Receiving the Study Support Scholarship changed my life around and allowed me to stop stressing about food and other basic needs.

The doors of succeeding in my course opened for many reasons, such as being able toscholarship winners afford educational resources, pay for transport to school and meet many other financial demands.

With all my heart I give my immeasurable thanks for the Study Support Scholarship.”


Losene commenced a two-year Diploma of Laboratory Technology (pathology testing) program in 2016, and is due to graduate in semester 2, 2017. He then plans to study a Bachelor of Pharmaceutical Science.

Losene arrived in Australia in 2014 from West Africa (via Conakry, Guinea). He has faced the challenges of learning English in order to live, study and work in Australia. He is an excellent student with a distinction average.


In 2017, Sakaria commenced a five-year Bachelor of Engineering (Civil and Infrastructure) (Honours)/Bachelor of Business (Management) and is due to graduate in semester 2, 2021.

Sakaria is from Somalia and arrived in Australia in 2011. As well as his marathon study program, he has also had to learn English as a second language.

Shasta GUMOI

Shasta is studying nursing, loved her training in theatre work, and thinks that’s where she wants to head once she completes her three-year Bachelor of Nursing. She is due to graduate in semester 2, 2017, and then plans to study advanced specialised nursing practice in her chosen field.

Shasta arrived in Australia from Papua New Guinea in 2010. She has learned English as a second language and has also managed to maintain a credit average during her studies.

I feel sure Shasta will make an excellent nurse, in theatre or any other practice area she decides to work in.


This is an amazing group of young people, highly motivated, and equal to the challenges they have set themselves. Whatever they are doing in ten to twenty years, I’m sure it will be impressive. Winning these Study Support Scholarships is a step along the way.

Scholarships a step along the way


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2 comments on “International High Flyers win Study Support Scholarships”

  1. robert says:

    I don’t know how I missed this post for so long.
    Congratulations on making such a meaningful contribution. And best wishes to the young people.

    • Thanks, Robert. When I met the students, it was amazing to learn what the scholarships meant to them. Not just in terms of money, although that was surprisingly important, but in terms of encouragement and a kind of ‘vote of confidence’ in their capacity to navigate and succeed in the Australian tertiary system, having arrived as refugees with little or no English.
      An awe-inspiring experience for me, and one I hope (as they certainly indicated) represents a landmark for them.

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