As published in The Border Chronicle
Written by Taylor Harvey.
Photo: Award: Mohammad Asif Abdullahi (left) being presented his scholarship by Tatiara Councillor Robert Mock.
Bordertown’s Mohammad Asif Abdullahi has become the inaugural winner of the Lorry Humphreys Trades Scholarship, which is valued at $5000.
The scholarship is funded from the Lorry Humphreys Sub Fund of Stand Like Stone and has been established in memory of artist Lorraine Humphreys, who left a significant and lasting legacy to the Limestone Coast region.
Lorry Humphreys passed away at the age of 84 in October 2015 and left her entire estate to the Stand Like Stone Foundation.
Lorry’s final wishes stated that her estate valued at over $1.4million was be used to provide scholarships and programs for people seeking to pursue a career in the Trades and the Arts.
“Lorry’s estate is the largest individual donation received to date by Stand Like Stone,” said Stand Like Stone Foundation Chair Bill DeGaris.
“Her gift has already enabled many students from our region to pursue their educational dreams and the announcement of these perpetual named scholarships is in keeping with Lorry’s wishes and will ensure that Lorry’s gift is remembered and acknowledged in perpetuity.”
Asif arrived in Australia in November 2017 with his mother, older brother and two sisters.
His father arrived in Australia in 2011 after fleeing from Afghanistan.
They were separated for six years.
Those six years were difficult for the family, not only due to the separation but also the constant threat they were under from the Taliban.
When Asif arrived to Australia he was a very shy young man, with limited English.
He then enrolled at Bordertown High School and in just over a year has blossomed into a happy, talkative, confident person.
This was a testament to his hard work and commitment, alongside the support shown by the school and his family.
Through the school’s work experience program and the support of the Bordertown Migrant Resource Centre Asif was provided with the opportunity to be placed at Wickham Flower in the car mechanical division.
Asif talks about his time in Afghanistan of attending school in the morning and then going to a workshop in the afternoon to work on cars.
Already having a passion for cars, Wickham Flower recognised his skills and enthusiasm and they offered him a casual job over the school holidays, which has now lead to a school based apprenticeship.
The pathway for a new arrival to be offered a school-based apprentice is being demonstrated by Asif.
Stand Like Stone believe that Asif’s success will assist the broader community on many levels including integration, social capacity building and acceptance.
They also hope that his story will inspire others who wish to replicate the progress that Asif has made.
The scholarship will help the Asif purchase tools and equipment required for his apprenticeship and will reduce financial pressure on himself and his family.
Money will also be used to purchase school equipment such as a laptop, along with covering yearly school fees.
Tracey Grosser from Bordertown’s Migrant Resource Centre is extremely proud of Asif’s achievements and also the reception from last weekend’s Harmony Day celebrations.
“We had a large community celebration on the weekend which focused on harmony and peace, and the great efforts from around the Tatiara” said Grosser.
The struggles a new arrival family face are many and providing relief from some of these challenges can help ensure great outcomes are achieved.
Asif is a great example of a migrant coming to Australia, and not just fitting into the community, but working hard to become a successful individual and role model.