Maple Scholarship Program Announces Inaugural Winners  - Maple Services
Maple Scholarship Program Announces Inaugural Winners 

Maple Scholarship Program Announces Inaugural Winners 

Maple Community Services is thrilled to announce the winners of its inaugural Maple Scholarship Program for 2023. The program, which was created to support individuals who face adversity and provide them with the resources they need to achieve their educational goals, has named Lyn-nor Rhenier as the recipient of the Maple Emerging Talent Scholarship and Shawn Phua as the recipient of the Maple Equality and Inclusion Scholarship.

Shawn Phua – Recipient of the Maple Equality and Inclusion Scholarship.

Shawn Phua, a young Australian-Asian man from Queensland, Australia, is an inspiring figure who embodies determination and resilience in the face of adversity. Born profoundly Deaf, Shawn has had to face countless challenges throughout his life, especially when it comes to accessing tertiary education. Despite the additional costs and obstacles he faces as a person with a disability, Shawn remains unwavering in his drive to achieve equality.

His unwavering spirit and strong motivation to complete his studies, despite the obstacles he has faced in the past, earned him the 2023 Maple Equality and Inclusion Scholarship. Shawn is currently enrolled in Certificate IV in Training and Assessment at TAFE Queensland – specialising in Auslan teaching for vocational hearing adult students, with the aim of making a lasting impact on the signing Deaf Community of Australia.
The struggle for Deaf individuals in Australia is significant, as demonstrated by a recent study performed by the Department of Social Services, Australian Government. The study found that there are only 302 active Auslan Interpreters serving the 30,000 individuals in Australia who identify as Deaf with total hearing loss. The disparity in the ratio of essential services to this community is heartbreaking.
This is where Shawn’s passion comes into play. He plans to use his TAFE qualification to improve and support existing disability services and educational organisations by where he can help others learn Auslan and work towards increasing the number of qualified Auslan interpreters, educational interpreters, Special Education teachers, teacher-aides, communication aides, DeafBlind comm-guides, NDIS carers, support workers, Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind organisations, Disability service providers, hearing professionals with Auslan skills in Australia. Through his determination and hard work, Shawn hopes to make a difference for the Deaf, Hard of Hearing and DeafBlind Communities and break down the barriers they face.

Shawn enjoying Creme Brule for his birthday. 


Lyn-nor Rhenier – Recipient of the Maple Emerging Talent Scholarship.  

Lyn-nor Rhenier has overcome numerous challenges and demonstrated unwavering determination and resilience, which is why she has been chosen for the Maple Emerging Talent Scholarship. This scholarship, which provides $5000 to support the recipient’s academic pursuits, recognises students who have the potential to make a significant impact in their fields of study. Lyn-nor’s background, motivations, and recent achievements make her a deserving recipient of this scholarship. 

Lyn-nor grew up in South Africa, where her parents could not afford to send her to university. She dropped out of school in year 10 to start working and later attended night school as an adult to obtain her year 12 diploma. Despite facing these challenges, Lyn-nor has always been passionate about social work and community-based social justice. As a single mother of three, she has had to make difficult choices, such as balancing raising a family with her desire to further her education. To support her children, she holds two jobs and is the sole provider for her family. 

Despite these challenges, Lyn-nor remains motivated to empower herself as a woman, model positive experiences for her children, and gain independence. Lyn-nor’s recent achievement of becoming an Australian citizen is a testament to her determination and perseverance. She will be studying a Diploma of Community Services – Case Management, which aligns with her passion for social work and will provide her with the knowledge and skills to make a positive impact in the lives of others. 

By receiving this scholarship, Lyn-nor will have the opportunity to pursue her dreams and make a positive impact in her community. 

Lyn-nor with her three children at her Australian Citizenship Ceremony. 

Both Lyn-nor and Shawn have faced challenges in their lives, but they have not let these obstacles hold them back. Instead, they have used their experiences to fuel their passion for success and most importantly make, and want to continue to make, positive impacts in their communities.  

We are beyond proud to support these two deserving individuals as they embark on their academic journeys. The Maple Services Scholarship Program is committed to supporting individuals who have faced adversity and providing them with the resources they need to succeed – and we are confident that both Lyn-nor and Shawn will make a significant impact in their fields of study and in their communities going forward.