Christchurch nursing students from Afghanistan to Japan are the first winners of a new annual Pegasus Health Scholarship award for migrant and refugee students.
Scholarships were awarded last month to Ade George (Nigeria), Ai Niida (Japan), Nida Alizadah (Afghanistan) and Anna Inhwa Lee (Korea) in front of friends, family and guests.
Each applicant for the new scholarships – set up to recognize Christchurch's changing demographics – had to write a 1000 word essay describing how they would make a difference in their community.
Wayne Reid, Pegasus Health's refugee and migrant health manager said reading the essays and selecting the recipients was "humbling, rewarding but very difficult given there was so many worthy applicants".
Second year nursing student Ade George said she chose nursing "to touch lives of others by either a great measure or unnoticed". Japanese recipient Ai Niida said she chose nursing after being inspired by meeting a group of Japanese Red Cross nurses sent to support Japanese migrants affected by the Canterbury earthquakes.
Pegasus Health, the primary health organisation covering the vast majority of Christchurch general practices, has been offering Māori scholarships to medical, nursing and allied health students since 2001. The latest Māori scholarships went to one nursing and eight medical students. The Pacific scholarships are to be awarded on December 11 2014.