The Mutual Bank Supports the Education of Refugees

The Mutual Bank, has stepped in with funding to continue a successful support program for refugee students studying at Hunter Region high schools and TAFE.

The Mutual Bank is supporting 10 Mentor Support Network (MSN) refugee scholarships that were presented on March 30. Mentor Support Network is a not-for-profit organisation that, through the provision of education and mentoring support, encourages disadvantaged youth within the Hunter Region to reach their full potential. Since 2003 it has provided nearly 300 educational scholarships, the refugee scholarships being awarded for the first time in 2019.

Chair of MSN’s Refugee Scholarship Committee, Pat O’Flaherty, said the program was at risk this year until The Mutual Bank stepped in.

“The financial assistance from The Mutual Bank of the MSN program is wonderful news,” said Pat.

“The Mutual Bank has shown a keen interest in the community-based program and at least one of its staff members has volunteered to be a student mentor,” he said.

The scholarships assist marginalised students to have equal access to high school resources and technology (uniforms, ancillary fees, excursions, books, computers, equipment, software and internet access).

“Students from a refugee background can lack access to a range of positive role models and mentors to support their expectations, aspirations and career goals. So, a valued component of the support is a 13-week mentoring program, which for some students can be as fundamental as how to open and manage a bank account through to managing their scholarship funding or more complex mentoring about life and career choices.”

The Mutual Bank CEO Geoff Seccombe said, as it is member-owned, the bank looks to support the communities in which its members live. He said these MSN scholarships make a real difference to young people and mentoring is a great professional and personal development opportunity for The Mutual Bank’s staff.

“We’re about investing the Hunter and these scholarships are a great investment in the potential of some of our newest community members,” Geoff said.

The bank’s Finance Officer, Martha Nyabadza, is excited for the opportunity to mentor local youth. Martha said she moved to Australia in 2016 so she has first-hand experience of settling into a new community and a new life.