Our winners

Posted on September 7, 2017

Our winners

Last week we were thrilled to announce the inaugural winners of the John Mac Foundation scholarship at Western Sydney University.

Receiving a scholarship to attend university is a proud moment for any student, but for Alibaba Sabiri & Zakieh Hamidan, two refugees from Afghanistan and Iran, it was especially poignant. 

As a persecuted Hazara minority, Sabiri fled Afghanistan with his family and at age 5 he was going to school in the morning and working as a carpet weaver in the afternoon. At the age of 10, both his parents had died. At 17, Sabiri arrived in Australia on a refugee boat from Pakistan. Just five years later, Alibaba is now in his fourth year of engineering at Western Sydney University and we’re honoured to support him on this remarkable journey. 

Zakieh Hamidan, another ethnic Hazara, also fled Iran with her family after the death of her father. They were granted humanitarian visas in Australia and settled in Coffs Harbour. Zakieh is now studying business management. “In our culture we do not have very many women that they are like businesswoman and I want to break this barrier which is unfortunately still in our culture” she said. 

Deng could not be happier to help both Alibaba & Zakieh realise their “Australian dream” and we look forward to welcoming even more scholars to the John Mac family very soon.

Photo credit: Western Sydney University.