Jasmine’s dream to help people experiencing homelessness
Our scholarship student Jasmine is following her dream to become a social worker, recently beginning her master’s degree at the University of Sydney.
At only 16, Jasmine was forced to move out of home because of family dysfunction. Her mother suffers from bipolar disorder and experienced long periods of being very unwell. During the next few years Jasmine sought shelter at various refuges, living in seven different places in all. The impact on her education and emotional security was devastating.
Despite these challenges, Jasmine dreamt of university. “I focused on studying a lot to occupy my mind,” she explains. “I wanted a good degree that would allow me to help people like myself in the future.” She was accepted into a Bachelor of Social Sciences, majoring in Criminology, at Macquarie University – but at first, she struggled to cope.
Why Jasmine applied for the scholarship
“I decided to apply for the scholarship because I was under an extreme amount of stress and pressure – I was studying, living by myself and juggling three part-time jobs,” says Jasmine. “I would compare myself and get upset that I did not perform as well as others. It was a very challenging point in my life.
“I honestly did not think I would get it, I thought there was always someone smarter or more capable or deserving.
“When I found out I received the scholarship I was filled with gratitude, it gave me much more than money. I was not constantly stressed by the worry of financial stability and was able to just be a uni student. I was able to devote myself to my studies completely.”
Thanks to the scholarship, Jasmine was able to fully participate in the university experience. “I played Oztag, worked as a peer educator for Project Youth, did an internship with The Salvation Army, went to the beach with friends, went to the movies, and attempted to cook new things and experiment with new foods,” she says.
Jasmine’s compassionate character
Jasmine’s early experiences led her to develop a strong social conscience.
“Those few years of independent living inspired me to be very grateful for the roof over my head, my education, my friends and family and having food on the table,” she says.
After graduation in 2019 she worked part-time as a peer support worker for people experiencing homelessness at St Vincent’s Hospital. Wanting the qualifications to do more for her clients, in 2021 she commenced a Master of Social Work at the University of Sydney.
“I believe in really making a change and helping others who are in vulnerable positions, and that starts with me becoming a social worker,” she explains.
“I am enjoying my course although the workload was certainly a shock! Despite this my grades were good and I worked really hard during the semester.”
Jasmine joins the fight against COVID-19
“Given the current COVID-19 situation, I have been helping at the St Vincent’s Homeless Health vaccination clinic. Our goal is to vaccinate the homeless, those who are at-risk, or living in social housing. It’s been very busy and intense at times, but I am glad we are working toward a good cause.
“I am hoping to become a social worker working in the hospital emergency department, as I very much like the hustle and bustle. I am also keen to keep working in homelessness, as I feel like my lived experience is very useful and meaningful to others I come across and help.”
About the Tertiary Scholarship Program
Young adults who were unable to grown up safely at home with their birth parents face compromised educational outcomes. An estimated 1% of those from out-of-home care backgrounds go on to any form of higher education, compared to around 40% of young adults in the general population.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation Tertiary Scholarship Program provides financial support so recipients can afford study expenses such as course fees and textbooks, as well as the cost of living on their own with no parental support. The scholarship gives them a greater chance of focusing on their studies, rather than having to hold down multiple jobs to survive.
How We Help
Each year we’re able to make a difference to thousands of people across the country with funds generously donated by compassionate Australians. We support initiatives that focus on benefiting the disadvantaged, marginalised and socially isolated people in our community.