The woman behind the hugely successful NAIDOC Week high tea has been named the 2018 Cairns Woman of the Year.
Through her business, Donna Corrie dedicates herself to empowering Indigenous women through helping them to build confidence, identify and promote their strengths, and achieve healthy lifestyles.
Participants from her programs were part of a special presentation during the NAIDOC Week high tea, which attracted more than 240 attendees from across Australia.
Presented at today’s International Women’s Day Breakfast, the Woman of the Year award recognises outstanding achievement and contribution to the community by a local woman.
Mayor Bob Manning said it was clear that Donna had a genuine passion for helping others – particularly Indigenous women – to achieve their goals in life.
“Donna sees the true potential in others and helps them to see it in themselves,” Cr Manning said. “Her program empowers women to aim high, achieve their dreams and to overcome challenges.
“On behalf of the Cairns community, I’d like to congratulate Donna on her award and thank her for her wonderful contribution to our community.”
In a letter of support accompanying Donna’s nomination, Queensland Senator Claire Moore – who attended the NAIDOC Week high tea – said she had been moved by the event and the results of Donna’s program.
“The sheer joy, pride and self-belief expressed by the women as they were welcomed by the large crowd at the event clearly highlighted the value of the program,” she said in the letter.
“During the event, Ms Corrie shared her personal story, reinforcing the importance of resilience and developing support networks. Additionally, she challenged the women present to actively support each other. This is the basis of solidarity and shows a commitment to changing lives.”
The inaugural DFS Galleria International Women’s Day Scholarship was awarded to music teacher Maureen Cameron, who is the founder of Gift of Music – a not-for-profit organisation that raises funds for local charities through music concerts.
She is currently facilitating a project to present 126 separate musical dedications in honour of the 126 fallen soldiers represented on the Cairns Cenotaph World War I memorial.
Outside of music, Maureen gives her time to support the efforts of Days for Girls – an organisation that provides hygiene kits to women in remote villages around the world – and the Cairns charity Friends of Himalayan Children.
“This is the first time we’ve offered this scholarship and we’ve had some very good quality nominees,” Cr Manning said. “We’re so pleased that we can assist Maureen to continue her wonderful work in our community.”
Young Woman of the Year Molly Steer has proved that age is no barrier when it comes to leading change.
At just nine years of age, Molly set about reducing the amount of plastic that was ending up in the ocean by instigating the Straw No More campaign.
Her mission to have single-use plastic straws removed from school tuck shops in Cairns has spread to schools across the country and is inspiring behavioural change.
“It’s wonderful to see such a young member of our community make such an impact on this important topic,” Cr Manning said. “Molly is thoroughly deserving of this recognition.”
The International Women’s Day Breakfast was presented by Cairns Regional Council with support from Bendigo Bank, DFS Galleria, Lotsa Printing and Star FM.
Cairns Woman of the Year – Donna Corrie
Donna exemplifies the very essence of the world-wide purpose and objectives of International Women’s Day. Building on a lifetime of work with indigenous communities, Donna’s most recent endeavour has literally changed the lives of many indigenous women, empowering them through a program aimed at building their confidence, identifying and promoting their strengths, and achieving healthy lifestyles. The program culminated in a special presentation during the NAIDOC Week high tea, which attracted more than 240 attendees from across Australia.
Cairns Young Woman of the Year – Molly Steer
At just nine years of age, Molly took it upon herself to reduce the amount of plastic that was ending up in the ocean. She started the Straw No More project and set about having single-use plastic straws removed from school tuck shops in Cairns. The campaign has now been embraced by more than 90 schools around Australia. Following on from this, Molly became Australia’s youngest TEDx speaker.
DFS Galleria IWD Scholarship recipient – Maureen Cameron
Maureen is the founder of Gift of Music – an organisation that raises funds for Cairns-based charities through music concerts at the Tanks Arts Centre. Her latest project is the Centenary of Armistice, which will comprise 126 separate musical dedications in tribute to the 126 fallen soldiers whose names are etched on the Cairns Cenotaph World War I memorial.
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