TWO nurses, from Singapore and Malaysia, are about to return home after completing a one-year university scholarship set up by former Changi prison inmates.
The Curtin University scholarship was established 68 years ago by World War II returned prisoners of war in remembrance of 850 Allied soldiers who died in Changi, the notoriously horrific Singaporean war camp.
Known as the Australian Imperial Force’s Malaya Nursing Scholarship, it serves to thank the Malayan people and the Chinese in Singapore, who helped many prisoners survive by smuggling food and medicine into the prison.
The scholarship supports nurses to come to Australia for additional training for a year and has been running since 1947.
Ranjeeta Kaur (28), from Singapore, and Jaspreet Kaur (27), from Malaysia, will leave Perth next month after completing part of their nursing degrees at Curtin.
Both women have completed the equivalent of two years in Australia, because at home they must work part-time to afford schooling.
They said while they were exhausted by the workload, they had enjoyed their time in Australia.
Ranjeeta is a theatre nurse in Singapore and cares for highly dependent patients, often with a critical status.
She said Australian universities were much larger than those at home, and she enjoyed seeing the enthusiastic student union put on events.
Jaspreet, who specialises in bloods and wants to continue in the field, said the educational experience enabled her to pursue a long-term dream.
“My mum wanted to be a nurse when she was younger but her financial situation prevented her from realising her dream,” she said.
“She encouraged both of her daughters to pursue nursing and I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to make her proud.”