New Bursary offers much needed Financial Support
|Wheatley Bursary recipient Ocholamero Orato.|
Ocholamero Orato has spent much of the past couple of years sleeping in his car.
He grabs rest where and when he can as he juggles full time working hours with full time study. But things may be looking up for the 2nd year politics student.
Ocholamero has just been awarded the Wheatley Bursary, which offers financial help to a second year student of Political Science or Public Policy, for one year.
This is the inaugural year of the scholarship which was established from a bequest by the late Marcelle Waldon, a former student in the Department of Government (now POLSIS).
‘I feel huge relief,’ explains Ocolamero, ‘It will allow me to reduce my working hours and buy books – this is going to directly help with my education.’
It’s been a long road for Ocholamero to get to UQ and he’s committed to finishing his studies.
Originally from Southern Sudan, Ocholamero was forced to flee to Uganda after his uncle was arrested and killed during the country’s civil war. He was just 10 years old.
He spent the next eleven years in a Ugandan refugee camp before coming to Australia as part of a UN resettlement program. Here he was reunited with his mother who had arrived the previous year.
‘It was an emotional day,’ he admits.
Ocholamero says that he felt it was important to ‘study and gain knowledge’.
‘I would not have that opportunity back home,’ he explains, ‘ I survived through the war and I feel I have to make a difference, that there is something I am meant to do.’
So he enrolled at his local TAFE and gained a Diploma in Community Development and Welfare. He won a place at UQ and studied Health Science initially before transferring to the School of Political Science and International Studies to major in Politics.
To support himself Ocholamero works at nights for the Salvation Army in Spring Hill, ‘The first couple of hours of work are very busy, but it gets quieter later so I can get some studying done.
‘I am very lucky that my work understands and is supportive of me,’ he explains.
‘If I have a lecture in the morning, I will drive to the university and sleep in the car for a couple of hours before I go to class.
‘I am not sure yet what I will do when I graduate, I still think of Sudan as home and want to be able to help there. When I see footage of the aid programs running there it makes me cry,’ he says.
Media: Gillian Ievers , School of Political Science and International Studies (07 3365 304) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org