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The Cybec Foundation

Aboriginal Health and Education


Koiki Mabo Fund


Oodgeroo Scholarship


Indigenous Eye Health,

Dr Roberta Sykes

Newcastle 29/4/99

In 1998 Roger Riordan read Snake Cradle, the first volume of Roberta Sykes’ autobiography. She had been attending a convent school, but when she reached the age of 14 (then the official school leaving age) she was summarily told to leave. This precipitated a whole series of disasters, and it took her many years to retrieve her life. Roger was appalled by this story, and resolved to try to do something to save other aboriginal children from similar suffering. He contacted Roberta, and at her suggestion, in 1999 he endowed the Koiki (Eddie) Mabo Fund at the University of Newcastle. This has in turn inspired several other schemes.

The Koiki (Eddie) Mabo Fund, University of Newcastle: When Roger approached the University, they had just set up a YAPUG program, which was effectively a preliminary year for aboriginal students interested in a career in medicine. In this the students were introduced to the various careers possible in this field, ranging from nurses through to doctors, and the University was able to assess them, and advise them which would be the best course for them.

After some teething problems, the Fund now enables two students to commence this course each year, and continues to fund them if they decide to undertake any of the courses offered in the Faculty of Medicine at Newcastle.

Oodgeroo scholarships, Trinity College: When Trinity heard about the Koiki Mabo fund, it inspired them to set up a scheme to enable aboriginal students to live in the College, while attending Melbourne University. Initially two scholarships were set up, with matching scholarships provided by the University to cover University fees. One of these, the Oodgeroo scholarship, was funded by the Foundation. The success of the initial scholarships led to the scheme being expanded, and now there are about fourteen places for aboriginal students, of which several are funded by the Foundation.

Aboriginal Community Elders Service: The Service operates a home for aboriginal elders in North Coburg, and provides an educational service for the local community. From 2002-4 the Foundation paid the salary of a Cultural Liaison Officer to work with the local community.

"This fund is our way of saying Sorry; sorry to you all for the part I fear my ancestors played in driving yours from their homes, sorry to the stolen generation for the appalling treatment you received, sorry to you, Dr Sykes, for all your suffering, and sorry to you all for the mean-spirited and short-sighted policies of our governments."

Roger Riordan, launching the Koiki Mabo Fund.

Newcastle 30/4/99

Good Beginnings, Australia: The aboriginal community in the Alice Springs area has enormous social problems, and Good Beginnings Australia had been working with aboriginal families in the area for some time. In 2002 they approached the Foundation for funding for an experimental program to help aboriginal men who had been in prison return to their families and keep out of further trouble. From 2002-4 the Foundation paid the salary of a social worker for this project.

Indigenous Eye Health, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. This program was established in 2008, in an attempt to alleviate the enormous eye health problems in remote aboriginal communities.

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enquiries@cybec.com.au    Phone 03/613 9592 8579