Thanks for Sophia’s Indigenous student support

Ms Jenny Wightman with Professor Michael Barber

A group of Flinders women alumni who set up a fund to support female Indigenous students has been thanked by the University and some of the scheme’s beneficiaries at a morning tea in their honour.

The Sophia membership comprises a 12-strong group of retired graduates with a strong commitment to Aboriginal Reconciliation.

Speaking at a morning tea arranged by the Alumni and Development Relations staff to thank the contributors, Sophia group member Ms Jenny Wightman said she is hopeful that wider Australia society is on the brink of recognising the wisdom of Indigenous peoples.

The morning tea was attended by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Barber, and Ms Simone Tur, Director of Yunggorendi, the University’s First Nations Centre for Higher Education and Research, as well as friends and members of the Sophia group.

Ms Wightman said the bursary fund was established in 1999 as a response to the inspiration of early Sophia member and physiotherapist Maree Spence, who is now deceased. Ms Spence initiated regular contact with a group of Ngarrindjeri Aunties through a series of meetings known as ‘Around the Kitchen Table’, which allowed the Aunties to convey something of their traditional culture to Sophia group members.

Ms Wightman said the idea of the fund was to provide “a way for ordinary women to contribute to ongoing support for Indigenous women students”.

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