Australian award to Bhutanese citizen for outstanding contribution
By Teju Chouhan
Melbourene (Australia), June 21: Twenty-one refugees including the Bhutanese citizen who have made remarkable contributions to Victoria were added to the Victorian Refugee Recognition Record (VRRR) at a ceremony on June 17 during refugee week.
Among the recipients of VRRR award included Parsuram Sharma Luitel.
“What Bhutan did not recognize in generations is done by Australia in few years,” Parsuram told Bhutan News Service.
Deputy Premier Rob Hulls commended the achievements of the recipients and congratulated each of them for their contribution to improving the Victorian community.
“The VRRR is an official thank you from the people of Victoria for the hard, and often unrecognised, work done by many refugees that helps better the lives of other people,” Mr Hulls said in a media release.
“Our society is enriched by the presence of a significant refugee population and, by recognising the contribution made by so many people; we hope to encourage greater awareness of our rich diversity.”
This year’s recipients were being acknowledged for their ongoing contribution to Victoria and for helping others through their involvement in various voluntary programs and community support services.
The release stated that nominees have been involved in a range of initiatives including research into the psychological issues associated with resettlement, establishing memorials for Vietnam War veterans and Vietnamese refugees, encouraging Afghan teenagers to learn about Afghan art and culture and the creation of a multilingual Crimestoppers initiative among the orhers.
“I am contributing through an enhancing program called Innovative Driving Program for Refugees,” said Sharma.
At the moment Sharma coordinates 10 driving projects with eight in Melbourne and two in regional Victoria.
The program has four donated cars to projects on rotation to teach refugees driving in Victoria with the help of community volunteers.
However, he was awarded for his work with Burmese Karen Refugees to set up shiitake mushroom social enterprise in a community park and teaching them for Certificate II in Horticulture.
This year the Brumby Labour Government invited photography students from the Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE to create a photographic record of the recipients. According to a government authority the photographs would be published in the next edition of the Victorian Multicultural Commission’s magazine, Multicultural Victoria.
Each year the Refugee Council of Australia coordinates refugee week from June 14 to June 20. The theme for the refugee week 2009 in Australia was ‘Freedom from Fear’.