A hockey player heading to South Africa and a refugee who financially supports his family were among the 26 recipients of The Community Fund’s Lift Off Scholarships.
The 21 educational and five Donald Fairless sporting scholarships were awarded in late February.
Hussain Haidari, who studies engineering at RMIT, was among the educational recipients.
‘‘It has been really helpful. I applied for a lot of scholarships and I got this,’’ he said.
The former Shepparton High School student moved to Australia three years ago from Pakistan after fleeing his homeland of Afghanistan.
‘‘It is a beautiful country — the land of opportunity,’’ he said.
Mr Haidari said he did not know until he received the scholarship how he would afford accommodation in Melbourne as well as other expenses while trying to support his family.
He was joined by local hockey star Connor Holland, who received a sporting scholarship to assist him with travel and accommodation in South Africa as part of the Australian 16-and-under hockey squad.
Sporting scholarship donor Mary-Ann Linehan said she and her siblings Catherine Redwood and Chris, Stephen, David and Robert Fairless donated in memory of their father Donald Fairless.
‘‘He was a runner and a footballer and helped to establish a lot of sporting facilities,’’ she said.
Her brother Chris said the family just wanted to give back.
The sporting scholarships were given to young sportsmen and women who are competing at either an international, national or state level of competition.
The educational scholarships range from a one-off $2000 payment to $10000 over three years.
The program is supported by Greater Shepparton Connected Communities, Shepparton Women’s Health Centre, Foott Waste and Recycling, Tatura Milk, Better Together Schools Alliance and Miles Masters, La Trobe University Shepparton, Youth Op-Shop Cobram, Margaret Attwood Trust, GO TAFE and WOW Women.