21st May 2013

Dedication Reaps Reward for Congress Student Midwife

Student Midwife Cherisse Buzzacott has been awarded with Rodanthe Lipsett Trust and Felicity Bundock scholarships.

She was the first Aboriginal woman to graduate with a Bachelor of Midwifery in NSW, a dedicated mother, passionate leader and advocate for midwifery who improved maternal and child health care for her community. Tragically, Felicity Bundock’s life was cut short early in 2012, but her legacy to her profession – midwifery – lives on in a scholarship awarded in her honour.

For Alice Springs midwifery student, Cherisse Buzzacott, being the recipient of this inaugural award was both a shock and a very special honour.

Cherisse was awarded this honour in addition to receiving a $500 Rodanthe Lipsett Trust scholarship. The Trust was set up to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are training to be midwives, in order to increase their chances of completing their training and to contribute to Closing the Gap in Indigenous health outcomes. The Trust’s primary goal is to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous women and babies by assisting to increase the number of Indigenous midwives across the Australia.

For Cherisse, becoming a midwife is a goal that is close to becoming a reality. The final year student splits her time between Alice Springs, where she is based at Congress Alukura women’s health service, and Brisbane, where she completes blocks of study as part of her Bachelor of Midwifery degree at Australian Catholic University.

“For me, becoming a midwife is about being able to help other Indigenous women to be empowered and self-determined in a hospital setting where they might not feel they can stand up for themselves,” Cherisse explained.

“Indigenous women have a lot of obligations and often they forget to stand up for themselves. I was raised by strong women and I think by being a midwife, I will be able to support and advocate for Indigenous women and help to address child mortality rates in Indigenous communities.

The Rodanthe Lipsett scholarship of $500 will help Cherisse with her midwifery registration fees once she has completed her studies, and she will also put some of the funds towards installing more reliable internet in her home, west of Alice Springs.

“It’s important for me to be able to keep in contact with my teachers and mentors over these last few months of my degree,” said Cherisse, who will be able to use Skype with a faster connection.

Where to from here?

“I’ve been asked to do some tutoring after I graduate. I’d also like to work in remote communities.”

As the inaugural recipient of the Felicity Bundock scholarship, Cherisse will receive a certificate along with words of tribute written by Felicity’s young daughters and friends; words that will no doubt be a testament to the passion shared by these young women to help improve outcomes for Aboriginal women, families and their children through their practice as a midwife.

Contact Alukura

Location: Percy Court, Alice Springs (Head south on the Stuart Highway towards the Airport)
Telephone: 08 8953 2727
Alukura service page

More Information

Find out about the Rodanthe Lipsett Trust