John XXIII Scholarship
During my time at University I would often call in to see my grandmother and as I was leaving she would give me $20 to ‘go to the parties’.
At the end of 2012, I was discussing with a friend the difference that $20 makes to a student in Vietnam – for many this would cover a month’s rent. We were saddened by the fact that many students don’t know anyone who has $20 to give to them. This conversation, coupled with an experience in Timor Leste with students, saw the birth of the idea that has formed the concept behind the John XXIII Scholarship.
After discussion with members of the Staff Association, it was decided that it would be best to run the project through the optional Staff Association membership. All staff, not just teaching staff, are given the opportunity to contribute to the scholarship through a small fortnightly deduction from their pay. It was hoped that for the cost of a cup of coffee each fortnight we would be able to influence change across generations of teachers and students in Vietnam and Timor Leste.
At the end of 2013 John XXIII College sent a cash donation to Sr Natalie Houlihan ibvm in Timor Leste to sponsor the University tuition fees for one student. The College hopes to increase the sponsorship to two students in 2015.
Through the help of Mary Ward International Australia, which administer the financial side of the scholarships and the Loreto Sisters in Vietnam and Timor Leste, who help to determine the recipients of the scholarships, we were able to sponsor seven students in 2014, the first official year of the scholarship.
In Vietnam we have been able to provide six scholarships in 2014 and have provision to sponsor eight in the future. The students are studying a range of teaching disciplines and we look forward to an ongoing relationship with those students as they progress through their degrees and into their teaching careers.
Written by: Caroline Watson, Director of Mission, John XXIII College