GWQ SC provides support for refugee girls through the following programs:
▥ 4 bursaries each year to exiting refugee girls from Milpera State High School ($250 each).
▥ Hosting 2 refugee girls, from Yeronga SHS, during the January, June/July and September school holidays.
▥ The girls attend Lexis English Language School (tuition provided free) and enjoy a holiday with the branch members.
▥ Each year since 2018 the branch has awarded a Tertiary Studies Bursary, worth $1,500, to a previously hosted student who is studying at tertiary level. The majority of these students have limited government help because of visa status.


Janet Sweatman, REP Chair


Nasteho Mukhtar
Recipient of the GWQ SC Refugee Education Program (REP) 2022 Tertiary Bursary

Nasteho came to Australia from Somalia via a Kenyan refugee camp. She is studying Social Work & Psychology at QUT.

Mealat Gebrehiwet - 2021 REP Tertiary Bursary Recipient

Ruth Howard - 2020 REP Tertiary Bursary Recipient

Seyedeh (Sara) Saedi - 2018 REP Tertiary Bursary Recipient

Mealat Gebrehiwet
- hosted with her sister Kiros in July 2018

I am one of formerly hosted students from Yeronga High School to the Sunshine Coast Lexis English program. I always appreciated for all the support you provide for me to support my education as a second language student. When I look at my life before coming to Australia and after, there is many different things that I am grateful for however, it does [not] mean my life is perfect there is always bad things in all the good things happened in my life. So, when I reflect back home there is a lot of things that I was thankful for such as spending time with my friends and my grandparents. While the way I live was extremely difficult such as not enough access to transport, internet, and electricity. As you know here in Australia, it is incredibly sustainable in the term of transport and other services, but sometimes I missed my friends and my grandparents. When you compare my life in Ethiopia with Australia it is completely different such as the way I live and the education system. Which means Australia is comfortable to live and easy access to human needs in a daily activity. Although, this year I am a bit distressing about not being attending University which was what I had planned to do. The reason that I do not attend is due to financial issue and I am not a citizen to get the commonwealth support. Even so, I am hoping that I will get the citizenship this year so I can attend next year

I have done Certificate 3 in Food Processing and Certificate 2 in Retail when I knew I cannot attend University, but I did not get a job out of it. I am currently enrolled in Certificate 3 in Individual Support (Aging) and I hope this will help me with my future career and to get a job as well. Now, I am concern about the current circumstance seeing people suffering from COVID19. As you know it is exceedingly difficult for everyone to continue with education and to find work at present. So, I am just learning how to handle this hard time and hoping the good times to come and to go back to normal life.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute my experience and current situation.

Refugee Education Project (REP)

Yvonne Koster, Fatima Hussaimi and Janet Sweatman

Members Yvonne Koster and Janet Sweatman present Fatima Hussaimi with a $250 bursary at the March 2018 Exit Parade at Milpera. The school described Fatima as “an excellent student who has a strong desire to learn and always does her best, is respectful, helpful and considerate of others, shows great resilience and makes the most of all opportunities provided - the quintessential quiet achiever”.

Gail Ker OAM, CEO Access Community Services presenting the Access Community Services Cultural Diversity Award to Marilyn Keelty, Chair Refugee Education Program, Graduate Women Queensland Sunshine Coast Branch.

Congratulations to our Refugee Education Program (founded by Marilyn Keelty) in winning the Access Community Services Cultural Diversity Award; and a special thank you to Gretchen Keelty who prepared the nomination and the display folder. REP received $2,500 courtesy of Commonwealth Bank, and a magnificent trophy.

GWQ Sunshine Coast branch won this prestigious Access Community Services Cultural Diversity Award at the 2017 Community Achievement Awards, from a strong field of nominees. The announcement took place at a gala event on Saturday 18th November at the Royal on the Park, Brisbane; and was one of eight category winners announced. The awards were hosted by Kendall Gilding, 7 News Presenter, and included official guests the Hon Dr Anthony Lynham MP, Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines.

The award was further acknowledge at the December Exit Parade at Milpera SHS which, along with Yeronga SHS, are partners in the success of REP.

Yvonne Koster, Lois Bateman, Julie Peel (Deputy Principal Milpera SHS), Marilyn Keelty, Jan Dopson, Jessica Walker (Deputy Principal Yeronga SHS).

Julie Peel (Deputy Principal Milpera SHS) presenting bouquet Marilyn Keelty (Chair REP) holding the award Maryam Saqat from Iraq (Bursary Winner) Adele Rice AM (Founding Principal Milpera SHS) Terry Heath (Principal Yeronga SHS)


Muna and Kensae from Eritrea, at Buderim June 2021. Their visit was cut short by a snap lockdown


Elizabeth and Martha who are both from South Sudan, at Coolum in January 2020


Pertina and Jeanine climbed Mt Ninderry in January 2019. Both came from Democratic Republic of Congo

Refugee Students 2018

Sruthi and Nasteho, students from Yeronga SHS, visiting the Sunshine Coast in January 2018

Refugee Students 2017

Acting Refugee Co-ordinator Marilyn Keelty with our two Refugee Students Mojgan Shamsalipoor and Zahra Karami with Deputy Principal Jessica Walker.

Refugee Students 2016

Our two Refugee Students visiting the Sunshine Coast in 2016 - Euginia from Togo and Martine from Liberia.

Our two Refugee Students, Euginia and Martine, with hosts/members Jenny Hughes and Coral Usher

Hosting January 2015

REP coordinator Davinia Nieper hosting Matina and Glodiya in January 2015