India Latimore, a Worimi woman from the mid-north coast, has her sights set firmly on becoming a doctor.
Currently in her third year studying a Bachelor of Medicine at the University of Newcastle, she was inspired to study medicine after working with the local AMS.
“There I saw the cultural disparities and I can see how much they need Indigenous doctors.”
India successfully applied for the Freddy Fricke scholarship for 2015, which thankfully has relieved some of the financial pressures while she’s studying.
In 2000, a man called Freddy Fricke bequeathed his home to the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.
Mr Fricke left instructions for the money from the sale of his home to be used to assist Aboriginal people to gain an education. As a result NSWALC created a university scholarship fund.
In 2015, NSWALC awarded scholarships, worth $5000, to three university students including India.
NSWALC Deputy Chairman and Councillor for Sydney – Newcastle, Roy Ah See, said the scholarship is a great way to empower our mob through education by providing some financial assistance.
The determined medicine student left high school towards the end of year 11 and enrolled into the Yapug program at the University of Newcastle – an enabling program.
“It really helped me to apply to study medicine medicine, I got really good grades and it’s just a fantastic program. I currently have two more years to go and after that I’d like to specialise,” she said.
Mr Ah See said India’s application stood out to the assessors because of her ability to overcome many obstacles during her studies, including experiencing deep grief, which unfortunately is an all too common thing in our communities.
India’s grandfather, who she was very close to, passed away from cancer on the day she sat for her major university exams.
“It was a pretty rapid decline from the moment he was diagnosed. He passed away within about 6 months,” she said.
During those six months, India cared for her grandfather day and night while continuing to study.
“It was a difficult period but I mean you get through it. Um a lot of sleepless nights because he didn’t want to go into palliative care, so we respected his wishes,” she said.
“He ended up going into a hospital right at the end and he passed away on the day of my major university exams but remarkably I ended up passing the whole semester – I’m very grateful for that,” she said.
Mr Ah See said India’s ability to face challenges head on and continue to aim high in life is very inspirational and that its students like her, the Freddy Fricke scholarship was designed to help.
To qualify for the Freddy Fricke Scholarship, you need to be a member of your Local Aboriginal Land Council. India is a voting member of the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Mr Ah See said the scholarship fund has benefitted many students over the years and NSWALC will now work towards expanding it.
“NSWALC is looking to expand the scholarship to make it more sustainable through both Government and Corporate Sponsorship,” he said.