In 1996, the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) established a scholarship fund for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who wished to study to become midwives. In 2009, the Trust was named ‘The Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Trust ‘ in honour of the midwifery elder and longstanding ACM member, whose idea it first was to create such a trust. In late 2011 the Trust was established as a separate entity, Incorporated and subsequently registered with the Australian Tax Office as a Charitable Fund.
With less than 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander midwives registered in Australia it is clear that more must be done. It is well known that many students find it challenging to complete their studies. Meeting additional expenses – such as childcare, travel to university, fees and textbooks when studying and being far from home and family – is known to affect retention of students. The scholarships from this fund will go towards some of the costs incurred when undertaking studies, which may not be covered by other funding options.
The Fund will disperse these grants and scholarships from funds derived from capital accrued funds as well as specific donations in the form of supplemental grants and bursaries to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women wanting to become midwives.