When a Braidwood & District Education Foundation (BDEF) member approached former grant recipient Anjali Williams about the possibility of joining their committee, she jumped at the chance, happy to be a part of the foundation that once supported her.
The BDEF was established in 2004 and has provided more than $700,000 in financial assistance to more than 200 rural and regional students from the area pursuing post-school education.
Anjali was supported by BDEF in 2016 and 2017 as she completed her Certificate III in Business Administration at Canberra Institute of Technology. She travelled to Canberra weekly and also studied online while working.
Now working in administration at Braidwood Servicemens Club, Anjali joined the committee in 2018 and is now its secretary.
She says like herself, many of the volunteers have some connection to the foundation before joining.
“We currently have four teachers on our committee, along with parents of students who have received a grant from BDEF, as well as past grant recipients and long-term donors who love the work we do and wanted to be more involved,” says Anjali.
“All of these people are committed to the education of our local youth.”
Unlike many other charities, BDEF has not experienced a significant decrease in support from the community as a result of the Black Summer bushfires, drought and COVID -19, despite the threatening and devastating effects they have had on the area.
“Although it has definitely impacted our ability to fundraise,” says Anjali. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t go ahead with our 2020 Melbourne Cup fundraising event due to COVID-19. This is a large fundraiser for us so it was disappointing we couldn’t hold it. Fingers crossed we will be able to hold our Melbourne Cup lunch this year.”
Thanks to the unwavering support of its donors and the hard work of volunteers, BDEF was able to support 19 students with the costs associated with further education in 2021.
Anjali says the local foundation is successful because it has a clear purpose.
“The number of students receiving help each year is evidence of this,” she says. “Donors see the struggles that regional students have in accessing education compared to their metropolitan counterparts, and students need assistance because of the additional costs involved in living and coming from a regional area.”
Anjali says she likes to think she brings a young person’s point of view to the BDEF committee – the view of someone who has been through the process of applying for a grant.
She has no intention of stepping away from her duties, intent to be part of helping young people in the Braidwood district for a long time into the future.
One of Anjali’s highlights of being involved with BDEF is its presentation evenings and seeing the happiness on the faces of students and donors.
“You can see how impressed the donors are with such determined and focused students taking on a whole range of career paths, and how proud they are to be part of something so great,” she says.
“I hope to help give students in rural Australia, particularly in the Braidwood area, the opportunity to have access and be able to study anything they like without the financial strain – exactly how I was supported through my study.”
Applications to Braidwood & District Education Foundation for the 2022 academic year are now open. For more information, visit Country Education Foundation of Australia.
Braidwood & District Education Foundation is part of the Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF), a network of 44 volunteer-run local foundations across NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Northern Territory.
CEF is a national not-for-profit organisation helping rural and regional youth access education, training and jobs through grants, scholarships, support services and resources.