The Australia Awards are Australian Government scholarships that develop leadership potential by empowering a global network of talented individuals through high-quality education experiences in Australia and overseas. Australia Awards proactively encourages, selects and supports awardees with disabilities to complete masters-level scholarships aligned with the priority sectors.
Scope Global manages Australia Awards South and West Asia across Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and provides support to the program and awardees in Australia.
We hear from Pakistani alumnus Muhammad Irshad about his Australia Awards experience.
“When I was one year old, I contracted polio and suffered post-polio paralyses in my left leg. Growing up, I had always wanted to work with people with disabilities, so I started the Society for Promotion of Education and Employment for Disabled.
I was awarded an Australia Awards scholarship to pursue a Master of Development Studies at the University of Melbourne. After arriving in Melbourne, I received support to find reasonable accommodation and was introduced to organisations working with people who are disabled in Australia, such as CBM, to facilitate my field research.
My experience in Australia is extremely valuable to me. I was impressed by the non-discriminatory attitude of Australians towards one another.
Mobility was never an issue for me. Whether catching a bus, tram or a taxi, or going to shopping malls, public events and university, students who live with a disability will find a lot of support across Australia.
The university had a disability support officer who provided necessary modifications and adjustments to my environment and learning materials to ensure equal participation of students with disabilities.
Towards the end of my scholarship, I fractured my better leg. My leg was put in a cast and the doctor suggested complete rest for six months. Fortunately, through the Australia Awards I was able to get a carer to help me with everyday tasks such as cooking, doing laundry and cleaning my room.
The Australia Awards scholarship changed my life. I can now work towards the betterment of society and support people who are disabled with greater vigour and expertise.
In 2015 I joined the Government of Pakistan Polio Eradication Initiative/Expanded Program on Immunization. That year, the highest number of polio-related cases was reported in Khyber Agency in Pakistan.
The skills I gained through my Australian degree helped me train my team and perform my duties well. As a result, in 2016 there were no cases of polio reported in Khyber Agency. I dedicate this achievement to Australia Awards.”
Scope Global manages Australia Awards South and West Asia on behalf of the Australian Government. Scope Global holds inclusiveness as a core principle and works to ensure all people can access, benefit and contribute to the development of their communities on an equal basis.