SYDNEY, Australia, February 15 /PRNewswire/ -- In the news release, "Scholarships for Indigenous Australians: Education is the Key" issued on 15 Feb 2008 04:22 GMT, by Mary MacKillop Foundation Australia over PR Newswire, we are advised by a representative of the company that four additional paragraphs should be included in the beginning of the release. Complete, corrected release follows:

February 13 was a momentous day in Australia as the Prime Minister formally apologised to members of the Indigenous stolen generation. He did this on behalf of the current Australian government and nation apologising for the policy of previous Australian Governments of forcibly removing Indigenous children from their parents.

A critical opportunity now exists for Australian and international communities to stand with those already working to bridge the divide between opportunities for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. This was part of the challenge the Prime Minister made to all of us. The Mary MacKillop Foundation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarships has been one way that the Foundation has addressed this need since 1997.

Sir William Deane, former Governor General of Australia, said "Education is the key" after listening to the Prime Minister's apology in Parliament on Wednesday. This is in keeping with the philosophy of the Foundation and indeed with that of Mary MacKillop herself, who from the beginning had education of the poor as the main work of her congregation and was especially concerned for the welfare of Aboriginal people.

In the past 10 years AUS$1 million dollars has been awarded in scholarships, enabling 30 indigenous students to graduate in the areas of Law, Medicine, Business, Education, Nursing, Arts and Science. The scholarship recipients have always been very clear in the change the opportunity has made to their community and family as well as to themselves as the following statements testify.

Dr Janelle Trees, a descendant of the Daingadi clan, is the first indigenous student to graduate with Honours at the University of Sydney's medical school through the graduate entry program. A sole parent, Dr Trees believes one of the most important effects of the scholarship has been an insight into the long-learned 'poverty mentality.' "I have been able to show that it is possible to study medicine when you come from different circumstances," she said.

For Annette Duggan, a Bachelor Degree in Education has enabled her to become a role model for children, adults and family members of her community. "I have seen that education has been empowering," she said. "As a person it has given me the ability to be more confident."

A University supervisor made the following comment about the many students who have come from the remote communities in the Kimberley in Western Australia. "As they progressed through their degree programs they grew in their sense of self-worth to become successful and confident teachers, nurses, business people, policymakers and men and women of influence in their own and mainstream society. They have encouraged their children and others to pursue university studies and find positive ways out of the cycle of poverty."

The Mary MacKillop Foundation's Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarship program currently funds 15 students in their studies in a wide range of fields.

With many indigenous students working part-time or surviving on limited Government support, a scholarship can make a real difference to their lives and the lives of their family. Supporting a doctor or a teacher is an investment in the future of indigenous children as it provides positive role models.

To ensure the continuation of the scholarship program, the Foundation is seeking financial partners. The cost to educate a doctor is approximately AUS$10,000 per year for four years. The cost to educate a teacher is approximately AUS$7,000 for three or four years depending on the university. If you would like to become a financial partner, please contact the Mary MacKillop Foundation.

For further information, please contact: Pip Denhart Mary MacKillop Foundation Australia Email:

Web site:

Pip Denhart, Mary MacKillop Foundation Australia,