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Karmila's commitment to the kids

Karmila Saunders wasn’t always a great scholar but now the proud Yiman woman is committed to learning as much as possible to help her people.

Now at 48, Karmila recently achieved a Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Family Support) (CHC40313-FAM) and is now well on her way to completing her Diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention (CHC50313).

“The more I can learn, the more I can help my mob and the kids.” the committed support worker said.

Karmila was raised by her Nan and became a young, single mum – it’s that experience that has inspired her determination to make a difference in the lives of troubled youths.

“I realised I could make a difference in the intervention side of things so that it doesn’t get to the point where children are taken from their families. I wanted to help people so that the children don’t suffer,” Karmila said.

“It’s a generational thing, and there is still a lot of trauma going on and people don’t realise there are organisations to support them and that there is no shame in asking for help.”

Having been a disengaged learner at school, and with an unfinished Certificate III qualification in her past, Karmila was humbled by the warm reception she received at TAFE Queensland to enrol in 2022.

“I was worried because I hadn’t studied for such a long time and I learn by having conversations and putting pen to paper, not following a link on the computer,” she said.

“And just when I was about to start, my Dad passed away. I flew into a bit of a panic because I needed to be at TAFE but I received so much support and calls checking on me from time to time to see how I was going. The support I received was incredible.”

Nearing the completion of the Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Family Support) (CHC40313-FAM), Karmila knew she wasn’t done and wanted to learn more, so upon investigating further qualifications she was encouraged to apply for a TAFE Queensland Scholarship.

The TAFE Queensland Scholarship Program provides each recipient with up to $5,000 to help cover the costs of studying, including the purchase of a laptop, text books and living expenses while studying.

Scholarships can be life-changing for students, and TAFE Queensland is grateful for the support of organisations like CPL – Choice Passion Life who generously donate each year to the TAFE Queensland Foundation which funds our scholarships program.

Students can apply for two types of scholarships – Merit and Access and Equity, with application details available here.

Karmila was with her campus Indigenous Student Support Officer when she heard the news that her application had been successful, and she had been granted a scholarship funded by CPL.

“I sat in her office and I cried because I threw my hat in the ring and gave it a go without ever thinking I would actually get,” she said.

“I achieved something. I wasn’t a nobody, a nothing.”

Now working as a team leader for an out-of-home care support agency and just months away from completing her Diploma, Karmila said further study in the mental health field was not out of the question.

“I’ve still got a lot more to achieve. In my mind I am thinking when I finish this Diploma, where to next? What can I do to help?” she said.