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MADALAH working to help young Indigenous student follow her research dream

One of the many Indigenous students to benefit from MADALAH scholarships celebrated the completion of Year 11 on Thursday at a special event attended by WA's Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and other luminaries.

Nancy Bodey, from South Hedland, received a sponsorship from the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage - in collaboration with MADALAH - to attend Perth College for two years.

Nancy will move into Year 12 in 2024, hoping to study laboratory medicine at university when she completes high school.

MADALAH board member Jeanice Krakouer told the celebratory gathering the scholarship had had a big impact on Nancy's education.

"She is part of our 444 scholars in 2023. The support MADALAH receives from partners like the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage allows us to provide that quality education for Indigenous students, leading the way to generational change through education," she said.

"We know education can make that difference. Our MADALAH students, and Nancy is one of them, are testimony to that.

"Because of this scholarship Nancy is able to receive her high school education at one of Perth's most prestigious schools. She is a boarder, and has taken on the responsibility of being one of the head boarders."

Ms Krakouer thanked the supporters who have made their work possible, including Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti.

"It is only through partnerships that we can build that future for our kids," she said.

Nancy told the audience that she has had access to many elements beneficial to her education that she "would not have had back home".

"I have had a range of resources to aid my study, and my very own laptop to support my learning," she said.

Ms Bodey said she'd been inspired by a visit in Year 6 to the Harry Perkins Institute.

"After I graduate high school I plan to go to university and get a laboratory medicine degree which will allow me to work in an institution like Harry Perkins," she said.

Dr Buti noted that the partnership between the WA Government and MADALAH is "the latest initiative helping to close the gap in life outcomes for Aboriginal students in Western Australia".

The Minister said that through secondary and tertiary education scholarships, the organisation is literally 'Making a Difference and Looking Ahead' by supporting young people from remote and regional communities to see their potential, find choices and plan a future career pathway.

Dr Buti noted that access to wider educational opportunities is a proven way to empower young Aboriginal people and foster a sense of identity, culture, and connection to land and community.

Over the past 14 years, MADALAH has supported thousands of remote and regional Aboriginal students, helping families who want to support their children's education but often come up against financial and geographical barriers.

"The Cook Government is committed to improving the educational outcomes and wellbeing of Aboriginal youth in Western Australia," Dr Buti said.

"Education is one of the most powerful tools to eliminating the gap in life outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians – and partnerships such as this opportunity through MADALAH offer students like Nancy future career pathways that might otherwise have not been an option.

"We are working hard to ensure that young Aboriginal people are engaged in learning, are encouraged and supported to realise their full learning potential and find meaningful pathways to employment."

Dr Buti said MADALAH is one of a number of Aboriginal-led not-for-profit organisations that are working with the state government and with industry to "unlock education and learning opportunities for young Aboriginal people and supporting those students to gain the skills, knowledge, and opportunities to pursue their goals and dreams".

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