Media Release – Indigenous Midwives Trust Brings Welcome Support

Ms Kyleigh Brown-Lolohea is on top of the world after receiving a $5000 scholarship to help her fulfil her dream of becoming a midwife.

A proud Indigenous woman of the Gudjal clan, Kyleigh is in her final year as a student at Australian Catholic University (ACU), and also a Midwifery Cadet with the Birthing in Our Community Program which is an innovative multi-agency program being delivered to Indigenous mums and bubs through a partnership between the Institute of Urban Indigenous Health, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Health Service, Brisbane and the Mater Health Service.

The scholarship, one of fourteen, was awarded from the Rhodanthe Lipsett Indigenous Midwifery Charitable Fund to help increase the number of Indigenous midwives in Australia – currently just 1% of all midwives.

“This scholarship will make an incredible difference to Kyleigh who may not have been able to complete her degree due to an extraordinary set of challenges “ said Professor Pat Brodie Co-Chair of the Fund. “But not only that – Kyleigh will add to the number of qualified Indigenous midwives so urgently required. This is critical if we are to close the gap for Indigenous mothers and babies, a national priority ”.

The ACU, promotes equity for Indigenous students by resourcing its Indigenous unit Weemala which funds Indigenous students to have study assistance. Professor Kathleen Fahy, a renowned Midwifery Education expert, has been mentoring and tutoring Kyleigh under this program.   Professor Fahy said “Kyleigh is a loving mother of three children who has been on a tough journey. Her youngest child Moana aged two (2) was born profoundly deaf and has required multiple hospital admissions over her short life”.   Kyleigh has struggled to meet her family and university obligations – mostly because of insufficient money to pay for childcare, particularly when one of her children is ill.  “Financial assistance is a practical strategy, but it also gives the student a personal ‘boost’ which is often all that is needed to get them across the line” she said.

Donations are needed to ensure more Indigenous midwifery students can join Kyleigh in building the Indigenous midwifery workforce for the future.

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