I often wonder why Australia is so cruel to Asylum Seekers when so many of them want to contribute to the Australian way of life. I saw this young woman interviewed on the ABC’s 7.30 report and thought
“Wow!What an amazing person” Soumi and her family fled the terrors in her Sri Lankan homeland and now as an Asylum Seeker in Australia, the bright student sought to study medicine at an Australian University, seeking to qualify as a doctor and give back to the country which accepted her. The problem is that asylum seeker students, with little resources, are put into the same category as full fee paying international students.
Such a restriction has pierced the hopes of this achieving student.
Yet Australians are not their giivernment and so many were touched by her story that the next day offers for University scholarships came flooding in.
Asylum seeker student’s university dreams revived after offers flood in
A top year 12 graduate who feared she would never get to attend university because of her asylum seeker status says her dreams are now a reality after being inundated with offers of help and support.
Soumi Gopalakrishnan, 19, was the dux of her inner-city Brisbane school who dreamed of becoming a doctor.
But as a Sri Lankan Tamil who fled her home country with her family four years ago, her prospects of going to university were slim.
Asylum seekers are classed as international full-fee-paying students, meaning they are required to pay the full cost of their university tuition up-front unless offered a rare scholarship.
Since sharing her story with the ABC, Soumi said she had been overwhelmed with messages of support and offers of assistance.
Among those is an offer from Southern Cross University to cover the entire cost of her tuition.
“I woke up this morning and my life has completely changed … I can go to university and achieve my dream and then contribute to the Australian community,” Soumi said.
“It’s just a reminder there are still people out there that care about others.”
‘Changing one life isn’t enough’
Soumi said she had been humbled by the reaction from other asylum seeker students at her school, St James College.
“I went to school [yesterday] and there were a couple of students who came to me and said ‘thank you so much for creating a pathway for us — now we have a road to get to our dreams’,” Soumi said.
“I can get a scholarship, I’m just an individual, but there are so many other students who are in the same position as me.
Soumi was moving to Melbourne on Saturday with her family to be closer to her two older sisters, who both work in a stationery factory in Melbourne.
When she gets there, she will spend time going through her study options.
“I want to do medicine, so if a uni offers medicine then I would definitely choose that one,” Soumi said.
During the family’s time in Queensland, Soumi and her family lived in a home provided to them by Brisbane neurologist Kate Sinclair.
Dr Sinclair said she was amazed at the offers of support that had flooded in and said she was thrilled Soumi would be able to attend university.
“[Soumi’s sisters] did well at school, but ended up working in factories,” Dr Sinclair said.
“I just couldn’t bear that to happen with Soumi, but we never knew we had any way or means of changing that.”