by Norma Henessy

"In acknowledgement of the participation of women in the social, economic and educational life of South Australia, the Irene Krastev Awards for women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds is presented to a woman from a migrant or refugee background, who has made a significant contribution to the community. Qualities that the award seeks to recognize, value and commend include community involvement in South Australia, participation in community activities, achievements in community work, leadership in women’s groups and volunteer work with women. The award is convened by the Migrant Women’s Lobby Group of SA and it is given out at the annual IWD Luncheon which has been in running for more than 15 years. This year’s Irene Krastev Award was presented by former Minister for Multicultural Affairs and now Chair of the Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission the Hon Grace Portolesi."


The annual International Women’s Day 2017 luncheon on March 9 was held in conjunction with the celebration of International Women’s Day the day before. The 2017 theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, was “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. While there is much advancement going on in the labour force and in the
workforce environment, women have yet to enjoy a better share of involvement in shaping the future of the evolving world. In her message to the world in this occasion, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said “ Achieving equality in the workplace will require an expansion of decent work and employment opportunities, involving governments’ targeted efforts to promote women’s participation in economic life, the support of important collectives like trade unions, and the voices of women themselves in framing solutions to overcome current barriers to women’s participation, as examined by the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. The stakes are high: advancing women’s equality could boost global GDP by US$12 trillion by 2025.” In South Australia, it was during the International Womens Day that awards honouring 2 great South Australian women, Irene Bell and Irene Krastev were given out along with the Young Women’s Community and Spirit Awards.
Irene Bell was born in Alberton, South Australia in 1906 and died in 1995. She was a member of the International Women’s Day Committee for more than 35 years. She was the Honorary Secretary in 30 of those years. She was instrumental in raising the status of women in the community. Irene fought tirelessly for the unemployed, personally helping many of them with no thought for her own welfare. She campaigned for women’s rights and supported women taking their place in Parliament and local government.
The Irene Bell award in her honor was shared this year by four outstanding South Australian women: Frances Bedford, MP, Erica Majba, Dr. Wendy Abigail and Steph Key, MP.
IRENE KRASTEV The Irene Krastev Award is presented by The Migrant Women's Lobby Group of SA Incorporated (MWLG) to recognise women from a migrant or refugee background who have made a significant contribution to the community and to the participation of women in the social, economic and educational life of South Australia.
The values that the MWLG seek to recognise, find noteworthy and commend through this award are: community involvement in South Australia; participation in community activities; leadership in women's groups; volunteer work; working with women, individuals and groups; and mentoring individuals and providing support for individuals and groups I was deeply honoured to be this year’s recipient of the award. My congratulations to my co-finalists: Emily Tanui Kori and Monica Belosevic. They have been equally as dedicated and passionate as I have been in my commitment to serve the community. The YOUNG WOMEN’S COMMUNITY AND SPIRIT AWARD was awarded to Atena Abrahimzadeh and Nadia Baldassi- Winderlich.
This year’s Governor’s Multicultural Award that was held on 21st of March at the Government House grounds saw 34 finalists and 17 winners. Congratulations to all the winners, among whom was Cynthia Caird who received this year’s award for Community Service – Individual category.
I was privileged to have been a finalist to the Art and Culture Award-Individual category.
The special Individual Achievement Award was given to Mr Ly Luan Le.
Mr Ly Luan Le fled his home country Vietnam in the wake of Vietnam war and found initial refuge in the Philippines. It was in the Philippines where the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees asked him to develop a curriculum of English language for refugees. He arrived in Australia via a refugee camp in 1982, of which he had a first impression of it being "paradise".
He used his own experiences to help refugees and new arrivals. Since his arrival in Australia he has been actively involved in promoting multiculturalism and diversity.
Governor of SA Hieu Van Le acknowledged all nominees, finalists and winners:
"This is the opportunity to congratulate and acknowledge the wonderful work of so many people quietly within our community, that are working day in and day out, to ensure that the benefits of cultural diversity is known."
The GRAHAM SMITH PEACE FOUNDATION bagged the award for arts and culture – under the organization category. The foundation was initiated by Leonie Ebert. Celebrating Harmony Day in the afternoon of the same day, the Graham Smith Peace Foundation successfully raised funds via auction at the event. Among the many notables who attended were Stephanie Key, MP, and Lady Mayoress Genevieve Haese who came with her mother who was vacationing from Singapore. The guest speaker was Henry Olango, a retired professional cricketer from Zimbabwe who now calls Australia his home.

Published in Incoming