A scholarship has helped me to seek justice for those in need

A scholarship has helped me to seek justice for those in need

Amelia Digance (centre) with her parents

After having undergone over 15 surgeries, I am now fighting for human rights and being the voice for those who are often unheard.

My name is Amelia Digance and it is my honour to write to you today.

I’ll be honest with you, I hope that by sharing my story with you today that you will be inspired to support students through scholarships at university to give them the chance to realise their true academic potential. I was very fortunate to have received a scholarship at a crucial time in my life, from people just like you, which helped me to focus on my double degrees in Law and International Relations at UniSA.

I was born with a life changing genetic condition called Cleidocranial dysostosis and have undergone over 15 surgeries since birth up until just two years ago. Growing up, my condition caused me to miss a lot of high school and even my first semester of university. It was so frustrating being ready to start university but be held back by something out of my control. However, I was determined not to let my situation hold me back from pursuing what I had always dreamed of – working in law and human rights.

When I commenced university, I was fortunate to receive a Cowan Ability Grant which was so beneficial at such an important time in my life. The financial assistance allowed me to purchase law books (which as you can imagine can be both large and expensive) and a lightweight laptop.

When I graduated, I was encouraged to pursue a legal internship with the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC) as a member of the prosecution against the Khmer Rouge and their atrocities.

To this day, I still can’t believe I was involved in helping to seek justice for this dark part of history. Being a member of the prosecution of the crime of genocide, the people, their lives and their stories, as well as the ongoing nature of these trials and the many and varied issues that were still being dealt with, is an experience that will remain with me always.

When I returned to Australia I worked for the Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara (NPY) Women’s Council as a member of the domestic violence team based in Alice Springs. It was a privilege to work with the communities and the team to challenge domestic violence and empower local women.

I have now returned to my home town working in Adelaide as a prosecuting solicitor for the South Australian Police (SAPOL). I am also volunteering in my spare time – just like I did as a student - and mentoring disadvantaged children who need that extra support to achieve their best and be their best.

I believe one of the most empowering ways that people can have a brighter future is through higher education. Today’s students are our next generation of bright minds and innovative leaders. When they succeed, we all succeed.

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.

Education and receiving a scholarship has led me on my career path, but more importantly, it has allowed me to help be the voice for those who cannot be heard, find justice for victims of abuse and defend human rights.

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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