Meet the Outstanding Achievement Award Finalists
Meet the Outstanding Achievement Award Finalists
Our Outstanding Achievement Finalists has been nominated for excellence in their chosen field of community work. Each is driven by an energy and commitment to a cause close to their heart. These are their stories.
For the past 6 years Tempe Adams has run a human-wildlife conflict mitigation program in northern Botswana called Elephants without Borders. Botswana has 130,000 elephants, the largest population left on the planet representing one third of all elephants. As the human population in the region continues to grow – 20% increase over the past 10 years – conflict over space and resources is a major issue.
Part of her role is to educate locals on mitigation methods that deter elephants from entering crop fields, and the importance of conservation and coexistence. She is also creating and monitoring wildlife corridors in and around urban and agricultural areas so animals can move safely through them. Of the five villages and 40 farmers she has worked with all has produced successful harvests for a number of years resulting in a reduction in the number of elephants shot or injured in the region.
Tempe is a local from Exeter in the NSW Southern Highlands. She has a PhD from the University of New South Wales and is passionate about educating people on how to coexist with elephants. The overall aim of her work is to empower people through education and support so they know how to live with their wildlife, which allows them to continue with their traditional farming methods conflict free. She is literally saving lives. Take a look at how you can help.
In just 27 days Emily Patterson pulled together a gala ball attended by 512 people raising $43,000 to support drought-affected farmers in her region. Not bad for a 19-year-old.
For much of her young life Emily has been around farming and agriculture but it was a poem written by 16-year-old Darcy Howard from Bowral in the Southern Highlands that inspired her to act. Darcy’s poem tells a terrible story but one that is true for many farmers living with drought. So Emily reached out to the people in Canberra through social media and the support she received for the idea was overwhelming so she sprang into action. The event was sold out in just days. On top of that she managed to secure more than 112 auctions items for the night, from horses to cruises. There was also live music, an MC, lucky door prizes and more.
At the event she invited Darcy to recite his poem and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. For many Australian farmers the battle continues and Emily encourages everyone to help simply by changing their buying behaviour to support farmers - buy from local butchers, buy independently produced milk and support charities such as Drought Angels and Aussie Helpers.
Tendayi Ganga, is a registered nurse, motivational speaker, author, pastor and a coordinator with Zimbabwe community radio. In Zimbabwe she was a Chief Inspector with the Police Force’s Medical Section and in charge of the Police Hospital for many years before joining the United Nations performing peacekeeping duties in Kosovo.
She has experienced many challenges in her life including settling in a new country, being diagnosed with Lupus and raising three children on her own.
Tendayi firmly believes that, ‘The challenges we face in life are not meant to break us but make us stronger,’ and her community work empowering women and advocating for social justice is proof of that.
Tendayi’s dedication to her community has been acknowledged through awards such as winning the African Australian Community Ambassador Award 2018; Nominee for ACT Women of the Year Awards 2017; African Australian Community Initiatives Award Winner 2016; UN Peace Keeping Mission Medal Recipient 2003.
Says Tendayi, ‘I am so privileged and blessed to serve not only my Canberra community but also people around the world and different cultural backgrounds. It is a joy to serve and contribute to social justice especially for women. My passion is to empower people to become more responsible and accountable for every aspect of their life as they recognize and embrace their identity and purpose in life despite any challenges.’
If you would like to hear more about Tendayi's story listen to an ABC radio interview 'The Spirit of Things'.
Mark Freund is a NSW Southern Highlands local with a passion for community and rugby. Known for his energy and drive, this season marked his twentieth year playing the sport, fifteen years on the Bowral Rugby Club Committee, the last eight of those as Club President.
When he first came to the role the Club was nearly broke and shutting it down seemed a real possibility, but not for Mark. To him the Club represents more than weekend sport: it’s a social hub for families, and thanks to Mark its future has never looked brighter.
Under Mark’s guidance the Club is focused on community building and has raised more than $290K over the past eight years to support local charities and others such as the Black Dog Foundation and Lifeline. He has also secured a $986K grant from the State government to renovate the Club House creating a 200-seat function centre. With fifteen companies already on board to use the facilities the flow on effect to the local economy will be considerable.
And then there’s the game itself. Having focused on building the junior teams the Club is now enjoying enormous success taking out both 1st and 2nd Grade Premierships this year. And the locals are loving it too, with more than 500 turning up to watch home games.
‘This is great for our local community. Seeing everyone enjoying themselves, it’s very social. We’ve got two hundred local kids running around, coming up through the ranks taking us all the way to the finals. It’s really satisfying,’ says Mark.
He’s got bigger plans too. The latest acquisition is a giant television scoreboard that he plans to screen movies under the stars and televise the 2019 New Years Eve 9pm fireworks.
Mark is a quiet achiever, hard working and compassionate. Thanks to him the Bowral Rugby Club is now central to the community’s identity and a vibrant, social hub for locals.
Chris Riley is a role model, a mentor, a leader and a finalist in the Outstanding Achievement category for his life long commitment to giving back to his community.
Chris has volunteered with the SES for ten years, has raised money for the Cancer Council for five years and has been a volunteer Scout Leader for three years. His engagement in community began from a very early age, firstly with St John ambulance, then scouts, which lead him to the SES where he joined as a junior when he was just fifteen.
Working to support and raise his family Chris has always found the time and energy to Do Good. In fact he has a reputation for it. ‘I get a real kick out of helping people and giving back, that’s enough reward for me,’ says Chris.
Chris has raised more than $50,000 for the Cancer Council, is on-call at the SES 24/7 in his volunteer management role and operationally on-call two days per week. On top of this his work as a volunteer Scout Leader sees him support 11-14 year olds, some with special needs, through peer-to-peer mentoring and outdoor adventure activities.