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Empowering the future: The Maybanke Anderson Scholarship

Each year, the Maybanke Fund awards a scholarship to support Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students pursuing a full-time education degree at Macquarie University.

The Maybanke Anderson Scholarship offers crucial financial aid to aspiring early childhood educators, enabling them to complete their studies and return to work in their communities.

This unique scholarship not only supports individual students but also inspires the next generation and fosters optimal early childhood development and high-quality education. Managed by the Sydney Community Foundation, the Fund has been supporting students at Macquarie University since 2012.

TJ Pham was in the first year of his Bachelor of Education and Bachelor of Arts degree at Macquarie University in 2021 when personal circumstances, a global pandemic and a new educational journey meant he found himself struggling to stay afloat.

His life changed when he received the Maybanke Anderson Award for Indigenous students in Education, a scholarship which he says took away the financial burdens he had been dealing with and gave him the freedom to pursue his studies – and his dreams.

“The scholarship was genuinely life-changing. I was able to afford a computer and buy textbooks that were needed for my course,” he says.

Born to a Maltese and Aboriginal mother and a Vietnamese father, TJ says he has a profound appreciation for diversity and an ambition to create inclusive spaces for the generations to come.

“Maybanke Anderson is an inspiration to me as her life circumstances and what she stood for align with my own values and beliefs,” TJ says.

“I hope to continue her activism and passion for education through my own journey as a language teacher. To tell the future generation that marks are important but being themselves is even greater.

“With this scholarship, I was able to do just that without the additional financial stresses that tertiary education brings to young Indigenous people. I am so thankful to the donors of this amazing scholarship because without it, I would not have excelled in my studies as I have.

While studying for his degree at Macquarie Uni, TJ has had the opportunity to work as a part-time teacher of languages at an all-girls school – an experience he describes as “both enriching and transformative.”

“For me, education is not merely about imparting knowledge; it is about fostering understanding, empathy and connection across our multicultural world. As an aspiring and current languages educator, I am driven by the belief that a simple gesture – a warm smile, a kind word – has the power to transform lives and shape a brighter future.”

As TJ prepares to graduate, he is excited to begin a new journey and says he is grateful for the opportunities he has had through the support of the Trust.

“It has been a rollercoaster journey but the support of the Maybanke Trust has been a beacon of hope, guiding me towards a future filled with promise and possibility.

Thanks to the support of the donors my dreams are realised, barriers have been overcome, and the future awaits me. For this, I am eternally grateful.”

Make your donation to The Maybanke Fund here

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