Sudanese refugee Natal Jimma has been announced as this year’s recipient of the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and the ABC’s Selwyn Speight Diversity Scholarship.
The scholarship is made available through a $20,000 bequest from the late ABC journalist Selwyn Speight.
Currently completing AFTRS 2019 Graduate Diploma in Radio, Natal’s interest in radio began in Sudan and includes over five years’ experience at university and community radio stations in Australia.
Natal holds a Bachelor of Journalism with a Major in Political Journalism, from the University of Queensland. He speaks multiple languages including Bari, Arabic Juba, Swahili and English and has strong interest in Australian slang.
The payment will help towards Natal’s professional development and living expenses. While he studies, Natal will also intern at the ABC throughout the year and receive a 12-month employment contract at the conclusion of the course.
ABC Acting Director of Regional & Local, Judith Whelan said one of ABC Radio’s key aims was to look and sound like modern Australia. “The Selwyn Speight Diversity scholarship, now in its second year, plays an important role in helping us achieve that goal,” she said.
The purpose of this scholarship is to expand and enrich AFTRS’ student community by recognising and supporting an outstanding Radio student who has been selected on the basis of merit from eligible students from diverse cultural, ethnic or socio-economic backgrounds, or from otherwise underrepresented minority groups.
AFTRS Head of Radio Fyona Smith said: “It’s so important to have scholarships to assist in improving diversity. AFTRS and The ABC are both committed to this. Natal brings interesting angles to content and a great energy to the studio. He has a bright future ahead.”
Scholarship recipient Natal Jimma said: “I am humbled to be the recipient of the Selwyn Speight Scholarship and feel fortunate to be studying at AFTRS and working at the ABC this year. Thank you personally to everyone at AFTRS and at the ABC for your generosity, I am touched beyond words”.
Last years’ recipient Iranian refugee Pariya Taherzadeh, is now working at the ABC as a producer on RN’s The History Listen. Her feature on her own story can be heard here.