Vision Australia Bursary gets Elizabeth back to studying

23 June 2021

Returning to tertiary education was always something Elizabeth Waller wanted to do, but now, thanks to Vision Australia Further Education Bursary, she’s able to.

Elizabeth, 60, holds a Diploma in Community Services, and has long wanted to further her knowledge and qualifications in the area after first attending university when she was younger.

Elizabeth lives with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare degenerative disease that impacts the cells of the retina. As a result, Elizabeth was unsure about how she would access course material if she returned to study, but after learning about the bursary, she is now working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Community Development from Murdoch University.

I had a meeting with my occupational therapist from Vision Australia where I mentioned that I would like to continue my education, this is where I was made aware of the bursary program,” Elizabeth said.

Each year, the Vision Australia Further Education Bursary program provides students who are blind or have low vision with the assistive technology they need to succeed in tertiary study.

Through the bursary program, Elizabeth received a laptop, the JAWS screen reader software and a headset. These tools have proved invaluable to Elizabeth’s return to study.

With the technology I’ve been able to acquire, I’ve been able to take part in remote learning, and also been able to more easily access my reading materials for classes through the school’s library,” she said.

I’ve also been able to have some of my texts be read to me instead of struggling through with reading them.”

While the bursary has helped Elizabeth in her return to study, she hopes completing her degree will mean she can provide assistance to people in her local community.

Community engagement is very important to me. Being able to help my community with their law and legislation needs helps to keep this front and centre in my mind.”

The Vision Australia Further Education Bursary program has supported more than 400 students achieve their dreams of tertiary study since 1996. Find out more about the bursary here.