The makings of a media star
Nastasia is an amazing young woman. By the age of 18 she had already received a Prime Minister's Award, hosted her own radio show and attained a Certificate III in Live Production, Theatre and Events. She is now studying journalism in at University Technology Sydney.
"I've always loved listening to radio and reading magazines, so it's something I was naturally drawn to," she says.
Unlike her fellow students, Nastasia cannot read standard textbooks. Nastasia started losing her sight at six months, due to a rare congenital abnormality. By age four she was blind.
Vision Australia has supported Nastasia since she was a small child. At first we taught her essential skills such as how to make a bed and pour milk without spilling it.
"Vision Australia has helped me immensely," she says, "especially with daily living skills. They've been pretty exceptional."
She excelled at school, and was published several times before completing Year 12. Now we are helping to smooth Nastasia's passage through university, recently awarding her a Vision Australia Further Education Bursary.
These bursaries are given to tertiary students who are blind or have low vision to buy adaptive technology such as laptops, CCTVs and screen reading software that enables them to access information independently.
"It's allowed me to go to uni and give it my best shot," says Nastasia.
Nastasia used the $6,000 bursary to buy a laptop, VoiceNote and JAWS screen-reading software.
Since 1996, Vision Australia has awarded 120 bursaries, helping students who are blind or have low vision to access course information as easily as their peers.
And Nastasia's advice to other young students who are blind or have low vision: "I think it's important to find something you like doing and that will motivate you."