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War refugee receives prestigious scholarship

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Scholarship recipient John Chol Deng Chol is a Bachelor of Nursing student.

This year’s recipient of the Charles See Kee Leadership Scholarship is Charles Darwin University (CDU) Bachelor of Nursing student John Chol Deng Chol.

Mr Chol knows firsthand about hardship and loss. He was only 10 years old when he fled his home in South Sudan, escaping the atrocities of a civil war that killed four of his brothers.

Mr Chol said he’s humbled to receive the scholarship, a $14,000 bursary for students who are humanitarian entrants or refugees.

“I’m honoured by this award and I pay tribute to the vision of Mr See Kee, who—like me—came here as a war refugee. Thanks to his enduring legacy, I can pay down my student loans and focus more attention on my studies,” Mr Chol said.

Mr Chol says that in some ways, the hardships he endured in South Sudan gave him an enhanced understanding of the importance of cultural security and respect for human rights—sensibilities that inform his work providing holistic care to patients.

“There are so many opportunities for those studying to enter the nursing profession. And I aim to be a good role model for other students, and to continue to contribute to Australian society,” he said.

“And by the way, the weather in Darwin is more like Africa—I love it here.”

The Charles See Kee Leadership Scholarship provides financial support to a student who has resettled in Australia as a humanitarian or refugee entrant to undertake study to enhance their employment and leadership outcomes.

Applicants must be a past or current permanent humanitarian visa holder, a resident of the Northern Territory, and enrolled in a higher education or vocational education and training course.

Charles See Kee arrived in Darwin as a refugee from war-ravaged Shanghai, having barely escaped being shot by occupying forces. He had received a university degree during his time in China. Decades later, as a successful businessman, Mr See Kee endowed Charles Darwin University (CDU) with a scholarship to benefit those who had also overcome hardship and loss.

Find out more about scholarships at CDU.

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