Established in 2016, the John Mac Foundation aims to both continue the legacy of our namesake, and also address some of the issues that held him back in life.
We operate a Scholarship Fund, which enables people from refugee, humanitarian and other backgrounds to access higher education.
Once recipients start studying, they are supported by a national network of mentors, who are usually volunteers from within their academic institutions. Mentors are there to guide, support and encourage people academically towards the successful completion of their studies.
But academic success is not our only goal: we aim to help our scholarship recipients take advantage of the range of opportunities available to them in their new home of Australia. The Foundation provides guidance in finding further opportunities including internships and employment. A successful transition from education into a meaningful career is important to us. The Foundation also undertakes outreach to schools, talking to kids about the importance of education and training, while also raising awareness of the Scholarship Fund among potential applicants.
In South Sudan
The Foundation is also building a separate fund so that in future we can support the fledgling legal justice system in the young nation of South Sudan.
Justice cannot be brought about by one person alone. Justice is a system, with many people and different roles working towards it. Until there is a healthy and accountable legal justice system in South Sudan, the crimes committed during years of conflict, including the conscription of children, will not be answered for.
Our projects in South Sudan will include seeking to establish a law library at the University of Juba, with the hope of endowing annual scholarships there too in the future. We also plan to facilitate skills exchanges between members of the legal community in our two countries, so that South Sudanese lawyers and judges can benefit from Australian knowledge of best practice in their fields.
I have nothing but gratitude for my donors... I can't wait for the time I am able to pay it forward.