Each year the Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship provides accommodation assistance to high achieving students.
For Najib Hashimi, who travelled with his family from Pakistan to start a new life in Australia, receiving the scholarship was more than just a stroke of luck – it was the culmination of years of hard work, determination and courage.
When Najib arrived in Australia he couldn’t speak, read or write English.
“I was scared,” he says. “I was so little and everything was overwhelming. My dad risked everything to get us here so that we could have a better life. Living in Afghanistan and Pakistan and not getting an education meant that when we came to Australia, I had to work harder than any other student to get ahead.”
His hard work paid off. At the end of Year 12, Najib received the Kwong Lee Dow Scholarship, followed by the Prudence Myer Scholarship, making it possible for him to live at St Hilda’s College while completing a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne.
“Without the scholarship, there’s no way I’d be here right now. My parents couldn’t afford for me to go to college.”
Najib has not only thrown himself into his studies, but he has been able to pursue his passion for sport as a member of the St Hilda’s football team.
“I’ve had the best two years of my life at University. It’s opened up so many doors for me,” he says. “I don’t think people realise how crucial scholarships are. I wouldn’t be able to attend University without it, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
“Education is one of the most important things in my life. I know I can’t waste it. One day I want to be a successful man.”