As Rio Tinto celebrates two decades of the Ely Bursary, the inaugural recipient reflects on how the scheme’s financial support helped her on her life journey.
Weipa resident and Kaanju woman Sasha Busch said the Ely Bursary Education Assistance Scheme gave her the opportunity to pursue higher education, which was a struggle as a young single mother.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help from the bursary,” she said.
“The education I was able to receive has given me so many opportunities in life and has allowed me to develop a career that lets me give back to the community.”
Ms Busch, who is now Rio Tinto Weipa’s Acting Superintendent for Indigenous Employment and Development, was the Ely Bursary’s inaugural recipient in 2005 and the first member of her family to graduate from university.
Ms Busch is encouraging others to utilise the support available from the Ely Bursary to help achieve their dreams.
“Just go for it, take the opportunity and grab it with both hands,” she said.
“Life is what you make it, find your happiness, your why and you’ll surprise yourself with how far you get.”
The Ely Bursary is awarded annually to local Indigenous students and community groups who have a traditional or historical connection to the Mapoon, Napranum or New Mapoon areas.
The bursary, which is managed by the Ely Coordination Committee, covers the cost of tuition and course fees or other equivalent educational assistance, as well as developmental support.
The next round of Ely Bursary assistance will be opening soon.