A scholarship has helped me to give hope to refugees and give back to Australia

I would like to give back to the Australian community and help others who may be struggling and need extra support.

My name is Prince Kpadeh and it is my honour to write to you today.

I’ll be honest with you, I hope that by reaching out to you that you will be inspired to support students through scholarships and give them the chance to also achieve their potential. I am very fortunate to have received a scholarship – from people just like you - that has helped me to set myself up for success. You and I both know what a difference education makes, so I am hoping that you will choose to believe in a student in the same way others believed in me.

I was born in Liberia, West Africa. When I was young my sister and I were forced to flee the civil war and found refuge in neighbouring Guinea, while my Dad thankfully came to Australia. I am very lucky that I survived; hundreds of thousands of people died and many more were displaced.

I lived in refugee camps in Guinea for over seven years with my sister and thousands of other people from Sierra Leonne and Liberia.

During this time I didn’t receive what Australians could consider a proper education. Some of the adults living in the refugee camps who had finished high school taught us what they knew.

I still remember the day we were told that through the UNHCR we were moving to Australia – we had finally found safety and would be reunited with our father. After all of those years living in limbo, I had found somewhere to call my home.

After completing a Foundation Course at the UniSA College, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) as a mature aged student. I knew that education would be the key to having a better life. If you look at my background, I believe that I have the experience to be able to help other people who are also disadvantaged and come from challenging circumstances. I just need the education to guide my abilities and help me to succeed in this field.

I was so fortunate to receive a scholarship in my first year at university which really helped me get on my feet. The financial support allowed me to buy my text-books, a laptop and have the internet to help me study.

It’s important for me to share this with you – I believe that when you invest in students you are encouraging them to want to achieve more with their lives.

Social Work students are required to complete 1000 hours of placement in the industry (two placements over two years that are 500 hours each). I agree that this is important to be ‘work ready’ when we graduate and the hands on experience with industry is really invaluable. My only concern is that I am not sure how I am going to be able to complete the hours required while not being able to work my part-time job during those 13 weeks (per placement). I know I am not alone in this concern.

But completing this degree is so important to me and I will, hopefully, find a way. It is really important to me that when I graduate that I find a job where I can support those of us doing it tough and give back to the Australian community who have changed my life.

You may not know this, but in South Australia, UniSA has the highest rate of students from a disadvantaged background who successfully complete their degrees. In fact, nearly 30% of commencing students to UniSA come from an economically disadvantaged background.

So today, I strongly encourage you to make a donation to UniSA’s Scholarship Fund and give a helping hand to another student, one just like me. The more money raised, the more students who can receive a scholarship and receive the extra support needed to flourish in their studies. This is why I am supporting UniSA’s Scholarship Fund.

My education is helping me to have a brighter future, one where hopefully I will be able to encourage even more people in our community to be their best selves, achieve more and live a happier life.

I hope by sharing my story with you today, that you will be inspired to support more students through the UniSA Scholarship Fund.

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